Two weeks ago, Maryland fans suffered their biggest disappointment in years. The Harrison twins, the top point and shooting guards in the class of 2013, had been recruited by Mark Turgeon since they were in eighth grade, had played for an Under Armour-sponsored AAU team, and had forged tight bonds with the company, particularly with marketing executive Chris Hightower, the only person Aaron Harrison, Sr. allowed to contact his sons directly. And still, despite all that, they chose to play their (probably one-year) college careers at Kentucky. Bummer.
As I argued at the time, this was in its own way a win for Maryland. Sure, they didn't get the players, and almost only counts in horseshoes and hoary old clichés your high school football coach probably used all the time. But standing toe-to-toe with John Calipari's streamlined recruiting machine is not something many programs can do. If you can, even if the results don't go your way, you're definitely doing something right.
Which brings us to Tuesday's announcement from District Heights, Md. native Rodney Peters, the No. 43-ranked player in the class of 2013. Peters, a 6-foot-4 combo guard ranked No. 8 at the point guard position in his class, was considering Rutgers, UCLA, Georgetown, Kansas and Xavier, but chose to stay near home and play for Turgeon's Terps instead.
Even if you think John Lucas's appraisal of the Harrisons is too exuberant, Peters isn't the Harrison twins, that's for sure. But he is another very solid recruiting addition, adding to 2012 top-100 players Shaquille Cleare and Jake Layman, and Dez Wells, who is likely to play his first season at the school in 2013-14 after transferring abruptly from Xavier this summer. Wells is probably equivalent to a top-10 recruit; he's a big, burly, physical player capable of dominating in his second season in college hoops.
Put it all together, and you get a Maryland team that looks likely to improve this season before really taking shape in 2012-13. And Turgeon, armed with Under Armour's backing and a stable of well-connected assistants, is hardly done yet. Maryland may not have landed the Harrison twins, but the Terps are well on their way all the same.