When a top-40 player with offers from the likes of Kansas, Kentucky, North Carolina and countless other top-flight programs visits, it constitutes big news from a recruiting perspective. But when Wisconsin swingman J.P. Tokoto visited Maryland last summer, it flew under the radar. Until now.
Though it's flown under the radar, Maryland is one of many high-major programs actively pursuing high-flying Wisconsin junior J.P. Tokoto.
InsideMDSports.com learned this week and reported for subscribers that quietly, 2012 standout Tokoto and his parents took an unofficial to Maryland last summer, toured campus and met with the coaching staff. Terps assistant Bino Ranson, who seems to have settled into a multi-regional recruiting role featuring Baltimore and much of the Midwest, is the point man in Maryland’s recruitment of the ultra-athletic 6-foot-5 wing from Menomonee Falls, Wisc.
“We got a chance to visit Maryland unofficially this summer and met with coach Williams, and that was great. We’ve talked a few times [recently] on the phone,” said his father, Trevor Trimble.
“Coach Bino took us around and we got a chance to really see the university. And coach Williams was kind enough to spend some time with us … He told us his thoughts on Jay as a player, his thoughts about the future of the program, how he has a young team. He’s very excited about his team. He just lost a legendary player is this was a great example of what can happen with that.”
Tokoto is a consensus top-40 player who has a boatload of offers, including many from college basketball’s best programs. While he is enamored by the idea of playing for one of the schools that perennially tops the recruiting rankings, his father has been driving home the point that such prestige shouldn’t be a primary factor in his decision.
“With young kids, you sometimes get caught up on tradition and those things,” he said. “Sometimes the best opportunity is to go against the elite teams. That’s not to downplay Maryland’s tradition. You’re talking about a school that has won the national championship in the past decade, so it’s hasn’t been that long. The area is beautiful and then there’s the tradition of the school. The campus is gorgeous and there’s such great tradition in that area of the country, you could spend a year there just seeing things.”
What’s Tokoto looking for in a college basketball program?
“Really, the right fit. Jay’s style is very athletic. And the opportunity to play. Every kid has different needs, but I think my son definitely wants to have an opportunity to be in the rotation as a freshman. But I’ve told him that you’re going to have to work hard for that kind of opportunity, and he doesn’t have a problem working hard,” Trimble said.
Tokoto one of several Wisconsin natives being recruited by Maryland. InsideMDSports.com recently broke the news of Milwaukee forward Cinmeon Bowers’ visit to College Park. And we recently spoke with Huntington Prep (W.Va.) center Phil Nolan, a Milwaukee native who has been hearing from the Terps as well.
Nolan, incidentally, said he had first heard details about Maryland from Trimble. Unlike Tokoto, he doesn’t seem to have an offer yet, but that may change this season; his stock is rising quickly, with Texas recently offering after watching him work out.
Tokoto will likely take a few more unofficials this winter when his basketball schedule allows for it, his father said. It's undetermined, though, where he'll go.
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