Maryland makes cut for five-star big man, extends new offers

Josh Stirn

Class of 2021 five-star center Charles Bediako is down to 10 schools, he said Friday. The longtime Terps target will choose his college from a list that includes Maryland, Duke, Michigan, Ohio State, Memphis, Alabama, Baylor, Texas, USC and Tennessee.

Maryland was the first school among his finalists to offer Bediako and he said as recently as February that they were one of two schools prioritizing him the most, but Duke and Alabama have reportedly surged into the forefront of his recruitment after the Terps’ unsuccessful attempt to convince him reclassify and join the program this fall. The 18-year-old Canadian emerged onto Maryland’s radar more than a year ago playing for UPlay Canada on the AAU circuit alongside Karim Mane, another one-time top target who the Terps were unable to gain traction with after being tabbed as an early favorite. He announced last month that he will spent his final prep season at IMG Academy (FL) -- the same basketball factory where Eric Ayala and Bruno Fernando finished their high school careers. The 6-foot-11, 215-pound center sports a 7-foot-2 wingspan, displays impressive mobility and has the potential to anchor the paint on both ends of the floor.

“Charles is the ideal 5 in the modern-day game because of his length and athleticism and his continually improving ability to stretch the floor,” his former high school coach at the International Sports Academy (OH) Dave Briski told ZagsBlog earlier this year. “His speed is what sets him apart from other guys at his position. Once he consistently uses it in transition and in two-man actions on the perimeter, he will be in a class of his own.”

Bediako would add some much needed youth and talent to a Maryland frontcourt that as of now doesn’t have any high schools prospect committed to join this year’s team. With big men Jalen Smith, Ricky Lindo and Joshua Tomaic all leaving the program, the Terps search for frontcourt help has continued through the summer. A couple more immediate potential reinforcements emerged onto the radar earlier this week -- including Manhattan graduate transfer Pauly Paulicap and lightly-recruited Huntington Prep (WV) center Seny Ndiaye -- after Westtown (Pa.) four-star center Frank Kepnang announced his plans to stay in the class of 2021.

Bediako hasn’t set a commitment date but he appears to be in no hurry to make a decision.

Additional recruiting notes:

-- After extending offers to in-state forwards Kwame Evans Jr. (Poly) and George Perkins (Sidwell Friends) earlier this week, the Terps went national for their next two targets. They offered top-70 class of 2022 wing Ty Rodgers (Grand Blanc Community/Grand Blanc, MI), the nephew of former NBA star Jason Richardson, Thursday, and top-85 class of 2021 wing Jordan Nesbitt (St. Louis Christian Academy/St. Louis, MO) on Friday.