ESPNU 100 SG Nick Faust (Baltimore, Md./Baltimore City College) has decided to stay home and play for coach Gary Williams at Maryland. The Baltimore native chose the Terrapins over Marquette, Florida State, Villanova and Oregon State.
"I wanted to stay close to home and play in front of family and friends and someday give back to my hometown," said Faust. "I feel I can make an impact as a freshman."
Faust, who started turning heads playing for Baltimore Elite, has been one of the biggest surprises of the spring and summer circuits. Don't let his innocent looking face and thin frame (6-foot-6, 180 pounds) fool you, he will drop big numbers on opponents without hesitation. When he's left alone for a spilt second whether in transition or the half-court set he will make the open shot, especially from deep. He is a high-energy play who has a long, athletic body to shoot over defenders or finish in the paint. Plus, he handles the ball well as a secondary ballhandler and because of his instincts and basketball IQ he can make the assist or play off the ball. Defensively, he uses his long frame to contest jumpers and then rebound down to help his team.
"Nick is a great kid both on and off the court," said Baltimore Elite coach Bob Carrington, who has coached the No. 25-ranked player in the country since he was 8 years old.
It is obvious Faust needs to add strength and bulk to his thin frame because he wears down at times. He also needs to improve his consistency from behind the 3-point line as well as develop a mid-range game.
When it comes to making his players tougher and better, Williams is a master. More importantly, Faust is smart enough to work on being productive in all areas of his game to be one of the nation's best in time.
"I really need to be more consistent with my entire game," said Faust.
It was huge for the Terps to land the top rated player from the state of Maryland. With Sterling Gibbs (Scotch Plains, N.J./Seton Hall Prep) at the point, Faust next to him on the perimeter and much-improved big man Jordan Williams inside, Maryland will continue to be a force in the difficult ACC.
Paul Biancardi, who has been a head coach and assistant on NCAA tournament teams, is the national director of basketball recruiting. He is also one the voters for the McDonald's All-American Game and Gatorade Player of the Year. Don't forget to follow him on Twitter.