Noah Batchelor: ‘Really Special’ To Be Kevin Willard’s First Commitment At Maryland

Local hoops product Noah Batchelor says it’s “definitely really special” to be Kevin Willard’s first commitment and credits assistant Greg Manning Jr. for establishing a relationship with him that dates back to when Batchelor was a sophomore in high school.

Batchelor, a 6-foot-6 small forward out of Frederick, announced his commitment to Maryland April 18. Willard has been hitting the transfer market in search of backcourt solutions for the upcoming season, but it was Batchelor who became Willard’s first commitment, something that isn’t lost on the young forward.

“I’m definitely honored,” Batchelor said on Glenn Clark Radio April 21. “It’s really special to me to even think about that. It’s just crazy. It’s definitely really special.”

It’s been a process for Batchelor to get to this point. Maryland brought him in for a game for the first time when he was a 10th-grader at Glenelg Country School, opening his eyes to the possibility of playing for the Terps. He also got to know Manning, who was Maryland’s video coordinator from 2018-2021.

Batchelor eventually committed to Memphis in July 2021, but after he backed off that pledge in February, Manning recruited him hard, this time as an interim assistant coach. Willard was hired as Maryland’s head coach in March and kept Manning on board as the director of basketball operations. Batchelor committed to the Terps not long after the decision to retain Manning became official.

“That was pretty important,” Batchelor said of his relationship with Manning. “Me and him, we’ve had a great relationship obviously since my [10th] grade year, so for him to stay there and now be there when I come is going to be really special. I’m glad that me and him built that type of relationship.”

Batchelor began his high school career at St. Maria Goretti Catholic High School in Hagerstown, then moved on to Glenelg in Ellicott City (averaging 13.5 points per game as a sophomore) before heading to IMG Academy in Bradenton, Fla., during the middle of his junior year in 2020-21. He has been at IMG since then.

Batchelor compared the experience at IMG — “it’s just basically class and basketball,” he quipped — to college. He said IMG has prepared him for the next level.

“I think I’m more prepared than a bunch of others, I would say with just experience in lifting, practicing and all that other kind of stuff,” Batchelor said. “Even other coaches have told me that guys like me coming from IMG or even coming from a national school like mine, we’re just a lot more prepared and we have a lot more — I’m not going to say knowledge, but maybe a [higher basketball] IQ than others. Being at a national school really helps out a lot.”

Batchelor should compete for playing time on the wing right away at Maryland along with Hakim Hart, Ian Martinez and Ike Cornish, all of whom are currently expected to return to the program. Hart averaged 9.9 points, 3.6 rebounds and 1.9 assists last year and figures to start. Martinez played sparingly but flashed serious athleticism. Cornish redshirted.

There should be plenty of minutes available behind Hart. What should Maryland fans expect from Batchelor when he hits the floor?

“I definitely think I was always born as a shooter, but in middle school and my freshman year I had to play center a little bit. I’ve basically played every position that there is to play, but it’s always been natural for me to be a shooter,” Batchelor said. “But I think what people should expect from me is I’m a really energetic guy. I bring all my energy, I bring it out every night. I can shoot the ball really well, I’m really athletic, I play defense and I love the game. That’s just a little bit of it.”

For more from Batchelor, listen to the full interview here:

Photo Credit: Courtesy of Glenelg Country School

Luke Jackson

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