St. Frances Academy forward Julian Reese, who committed to Maryland as part of the 2021 recruiting class on Mother’s Day, says he would’ve made the same decision even if his sister Angel wasn’t soon joining the Terps’ women’s basketball team.
Angel, the consensus No. 2 prospect in the class of 2020, is joining what should be another solid team for Brenda Frese. Should Angel and Julian both play four years in College Park, Md., they’ll play three seasons (2021-2024) at Xfinity Center together … but that wasn’t what drove Julian Reese’s decision to commit to Mark Turgeon and Co.
“My decision was completely separate,” Reese said on Glenn Clark Radio May 12. “Her decision didn’t help me go to Maryland that much. It just was like a plus.”
The Mother’s Day announcement, however, was no accident. He did it as pleasant surprise for his mother, Angel, who will have two kids playing their college ball close to home. The elder Angel played at UMBC from 1988-1992 and is part of the school’s Athletics Hall of Fame.
Reese said he committed to Maryland because of the relationship he built with the staff since Turgeon and assistant coach Bino Ranson began recruiting him. He also held offers from LSU, Rutgers, Seton Hall, Virginia Tech and several mid-majors, according to 247Sports.
“Maryland has been really loyal to me,” Reese said. “They were one of the first schools that recruited me since I was at my old school, New Town, like when I was a freshman. They’ve been here since Day One, basically.”
The 6-foot-9 Reese helped lead St. Frances to Baltimore Catholic League title in 2020 along with point guard Adrian “Ace” Baldwin, who is headed to VCU, and forward Jamal West, who will play hoops at South Alabama. Reese averaged 10.7 points and 8.0 rebounds per game for St. Frances last season, per 247Sports, and earned BCL Defensive Player of the Year honors.
Only three frontcourt players are currently scheduled to be around when Reese steps on campus in 2021 — center Chol Marial and forwards Jairus Hamilton and Donta Scott — so there should be plenty of opportunities for playing time right away for Reese even with other additions to come.
Reese said he enjoyed watching the Terps play in 2019-20, when they went 24-7 and won a share of the Big Ten regular-season title — and that didn’t hurt in his decision-making process when choosing a school.
“It’s kind of like a boost for me because I liked the way they played as a team,” Reese said. “They played together. They work together. They never quit. I like to see the way Coach Turge coached them, Coach Bino coached them and all the coaches working together with the team. That was just a plus.”
A native of Owings Mills, Md., Reese will follow the footsteps of rising senior Darryl Morsell and NBA-bound Jalen Smith as Baltimore-area products to play for Maryland – and another one could be on the way in 2021 as well. The Terps recently offered Baltimore native Ike Cornish, a 6-foot-6 guard playing his high school ball at Legacy Charter School in Greenville, S.C. Cornish is the No. 78 player in the country for 2021, according to 247Sports. (Reese is No. 104.)
Reese is friends with Cornish, but he said he doesn’t talk to him about the schools he’s considering so he’s not sure what school Cornish is leaning toward. Cornish is announcing his decision Aug. 21.
“Ike’s a good player. He has a really high ceiling. I played with him a little bit in middle school. He’s just developed so much,” Reese said. “He made a big decision to go to a high school in [South] Carolina. That was just a good move for him. Ever since then, he’s been killing it.”
Reese has one more year left at St. Frances before heading to Maryland, and he’s got some big goals in mind as a senior. He wants to win Maryland Gatorade Player of the Year — Smith won it in 2017 and 2018 — and go undefeated, which would mean winning the MIAA A Conference and BCL championships. The Panthers had a chance to win both titles in 2020, but they lost to Mount Saint Joseph in the A Conference title game in February.
Another BCL title in 2021 would mark the fourth straight for St. Frances head coach Nick Myles.
“I like Coach Nick because he likes to push me,” Reese said. “He’ll never let nobody on his team quit. It’s not just me, he pushes the whole team. It’s like a family. He’s kind of a father figure to me. He just pushes me.”
For more from Reese, listen to the full interview here:
Photo Credit:Courtesy of Angel Reese