Roman Catholic star Hakim Hart could have dragged his recruitment out, but he felt like the time was right.
About a month after he announced his decommitment from St. Joseph’s once the university fired Phil Martelli, Hart shared Thursday on Instagram that he intends to play basketball for Maryland next year.
Hart, who helped the Cahillites win a second straight Catholic League championship this season by averaging 21.1 points per game, took an official visit to Maryland last weekend. The University of Michigan and Penn State made house visits to Hart.
Hart’s top schools were Maryland, Penn State, Michigan and Temple, but the Terrapins stood out because of their program’s history, coaching staff and playing in the Big Ten.
“They just believed in me the most,” Hart said. “So it was like a no brainer.”
Hart hopes to follow the footsteps of former Maryland players Steve Francis and Grevis Vasquez, who each made it into the NBA.
Hart said Maryland sees him as a two-guard that can come off screens, knock down jumpers and facilitate in its backcourt.
“I feel like their program can really help me get to the league,” Hart said.
Hart wasn’t recruited by Terps coach Mark Turgeon or anyone else on the Maryland staff before he committed to St. Joe’s last fall. Hart planned to take an official visit to Temple this weekend before he made a pledge to Maryland, he said.
Hart, who played at Kingsway Regional in South Jersey before transferring to Roman, joins a recruiting class ranked 27th in the nation by 247Sports that features Imhotep star Donta Scott, one of his AAU teammates. Scott committed in the fall, before basketball season.
Hart said Scott’s commitment to Maryland played a role in his decision to play basketball for the Terrapins.
“I’m looking forward to playing with him a lot because we got a great chemistry,” Hart said.
“I feel like we can be dangerous because we already got the talent,” he added. “The coaches there are going to push us to the next.”