Conversation With Prince Ibeh's High School Coach

7/18/2011 7:47:05 PM Trusted reader and Turtle Soup recruiting guru, DBR had an opportunity to speak with Naaman Forest High School Men's Basketball Coach, Jeff Clarkson, about his star player, Prince Ibeh.  Below, in DBR's own words, is a summary of the conversation:

TERPS PUSHING FOR A PRINCE


Bigs have been on the minds of Terp Nation as new head coach Mark Turgeon looks to reload the program and Prince Ibeh (pronounced E-bay) is a prospect of great interest. In the past two years he’s grown from a 6-foot 5 ninth grader that could barely make a layup into a 6-foot 10 ½ center with a 7-4 wingspan that owns the paint in his high school league.

Turtle Soup caught up with Jeff Clarkson, head coach at Naaman Forest High School (TX) to discuss the 2012 big man and get an update on his recruitment.

“He’s got great instincts for shot blocking. He has GREAT timing.  And he changes more shots than he blocks.  He changes the game when he’s in there.  Offensively is where he needs the most work”.

Ibeh’s growth and improvement has definitely been noticed by high major programs nationwide.  He sports offers from Maryland, Texas, Texas A&M, Baylor, Vanderbilt, Florida State, Virginia to name a few.  And just Saturday, Duke called Clarkson to express interest.

Recently Ibeh visited College Park and according to Clarkson the trip left a big impression on him.  “He really liked it.  He liked the coaches when he was at (Texas) A&M but his lead A&M recruiter didn’t go with Turgeon to Maryland.  Prince knew their interest level and was still interested in Maryland because of coach Turgeon. Maryland hasn’t been in the spotlight lately so kids in Texas aren’t up on the history of Maryland basketball.”  

While many feel that Ibeh is unlikely to leave Texas to attend college Coach Clarkson says not necessarily.  “There’s a part of him that would like to stay in Texas.  He’s pretty close to his family, but the opportunity to play and to play early will be a big factor for him.  And the comfort level with the coaches.  Staying home won’t be the end all on his decision.”

During his stint in College Station, Coach Turgeon showed quite a bit of interest in Ibeh spending time in the gym watching him in games as well as workouts and practice.  According to Clarkson, Turgeon early on was intrigued with Ibeh enough to frequently tell his high school coach that he wanted to have him and that has continued now that Turgeon is now in College Park.

Clarkson thinks Ibeh will be a November signee.  “He’s always said he wanted to do it in November.    Obviously if he’s not comfortable and not ready then he’ll take more time.”

With coaches calling him almost daily and new schools trying to get involved, Clarkson didn’t speculate on Maryland’s chances but indicated that the recent visit to College Park helped the Terps.  “He went from being leery to definitely considering it.”
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