Shaquille Cleare commits to Maryland

Center Shaquille Cleare (Houston/The Village School), No. 40 overall in the 2012 class, committed to Maryland over Baylor and Texas Wednesday.

Cleare, 6-foot-9 and over 280 pounds, is a true center and native of the Bahamas. His commitment came one day after he returned to Houston from a month-long visit home.

"I think everybody is sleeping on the kid," said Aaron Harrison, Cleare's coach of the Houston Defenders. "What people don't know is that he's a relentless workout machine. He's not overweight, that's just his size. He's a different kind of animal. People haven't realized that but he is. I can't tell you where his ceiling is at. He's only been playing basketball four years."

Cleare was a priority of Mark Turgeon when the coach was at Texas A&M. Turgeon's intense pursuit of Cleare followed him to College Park when he took over the position after Gary Williams retired.

"It had a huge effect. He liked A&M and Maryland, they were his top two schools," Village School coach Donald Harvey said. "When Williams retired that was tough for him. He was down and we didn't know what he was going to do. Then Turgeon gets the job and that made him like Maryland even more.

"I feel like Turgeon is going to be trustworthy. He deals straight from the hip and he's someone you can trust. That's how I felt about it and I know that's how Shaq felt about it."

The No. 7-ranked center in a loaded year for bigs, Cleare is the team's first post commitment in what Maryland hopes will be a run on bigs. The Terrapins are also locked in on No. 3 overall recruit Mitch McGary (Chesterton, Ind./Brewster), stretch 4-man Jake Layman (Wrentham, Mass./King Philip) and Amile Jefferson (Philadelphia/Friends Central).

Dave Telep is the senior basketball recruiting analyst for ESPN.com. His college basketball scouting service is used by more than 225 colleges and numerous NBA teams. He can be reached at espndt@gmail.com. Don't forget to follow him on Twitter.