By Benjamin Standig
The first recruits of the Mark Turgeon era were revealed on Wednesday, a heralded trio that couldaffect Maryland's basketball program from all angles on the court.Center Shaquille Cleare, small forward Jake Layman and combo guard Seth Allen formally committed to the Terps program, signing Letters of Intent, the school announced. Turgeon began recruiting all three players, all of whom verbally committed during the summer, when he was still coaching at Texas A&M. "Whenever you're adding to a team you try to add a piece that you don't have," Turgeon said Wednesday duringa conference call. "We felt like we've added three different pieces that will fit in to what we have and hopefully make us a better team."The apparent big signing among the three is the big man Cleare,a 6-9, 270-pounder from Houston. Rivals.com ranksCleare 44th nationally among all recruits and his addition has provided the staff a signature addition to build upon.It was big because we had such a great relationship with him at A&M and then assistant coach Bino Ranson did a great job here at Maryland. We felt like we were in the drivers seat the whole time with him."Maryland's current crop of frontcourt options is deeper with the addition of Alex Len, but the Terps do not have a true low post presence on the roster. Cleareattended and observed the open scrimmage last month at the Comcast Center and anybody looking at the kid's adult body could see his size and wide-bodied frame are legitimate.Getting space eaters is one thing. Finding those willingto play on the interior is another."It's hard to get the centers, hard to get the big guys and guys that really want to be a center and Shaq considers himself a 5-man," Turgeon said.More help should come - Turgeon said the Terps are looking for help at power forward and in the backcourt - but likely not until thespring recruiting session.Noverbal commitments have been received, though Turgeon said, "we're still in really goodshape with some players."The first-year coachanticipates the class ultimately rising to five "at the most"andbelieved the current trio could have been a quartet, but one unnamed prospect got away."I thought we had one more in our back pocket and it didnt get done," Turgeon said.Turgeon describes the 6-8 Layman as "a very skilled and explosive athlete who is improving at a big-time rate." The Wrentham, Ma. native, also considered a four-star recruit by some publications, could help fill the Terps void at small forward next season."Jake has all three phases in his game with the ability to knock down the 3, shoot the mid-range, plus get all the way to the basket," Turgeon said. Allen, Turgeon's first committed recruit at Maryland, averaged 24 points, four assists, 3.5 steals and hit 92 3-pointers as a junior for Fredericksburg Christian School. The left-hander with a 40-inch vertical leap can play either guard role, though Turgeon is excited to develop Allen's point guard skills. Injured sophomore Pe'Shon Howard is the only true point guard on the current roster and the Terps are scrambling to fill those minutes with the season set to open on Sunday against UNC Wilmington.Waiting on Pe'ShonGuard Pe'Shon Howard's timeline for return from a broken bone in his left foot remains on the initial 12-week projection, according to Turgeon.The sophomore is currently sporting a cast and will for another two weeks before being reexamined."We're still at 12 weeks today, but hopefully two weeks from now the medical staff tells me something different," Turgeon said.Should Howard miss a full 12 weeks, he would return in mid-January and miss around four ACC games. Should the doctors report a slower than expected recovery process, redshirting Howard becomes a prominent option."If the doctors came back after the next two weeks and said its still 12 weeks, it will definitely not be in the back of our mind but the forefront," Turgeon said.