Considered one of the premier big men in the country, Shaquille Cleare had been rumored to eventually verbally commit to the prestigious Atlantic Coast Conference. On Tuesday, the 6-foot-9, 285-pound, four-star center from Houston's The Village School made it official.
Cleare committed to play college basketball for the University of Maryland and head coach Mark Turgeon. Cleare, in addition to being a standout at The Village for coach Don Harvey, was a key contributor on this summer's Houston Defenders Select team that won the AAU Super Showcase in Orlando. The team was coached by Aaron Harrison Sr.
Cleare chose the Terrapins over several schools, including Texas A&M, Baylor, Kansas, Texas and LSU. Cleare had made two unofficial visits to Maryland during his recruiting process. Turgeon and Maryland assistant coach Bino Ranson recruited Cleare, who has been high on Turgeon's list since he was the head coach at Texas A&M.
"Maryland and Texas A&M were Shaq's top two schools, and then [Turgeon] went to Maryland," Harrison told Rivals.com national recruiting analyst Jerry Meyer. "He retained assistant coach Bino Ranson, who was recruiting Shaq for Maryland, so Shaq felt very comfortable with the situations."
Harrison continued: "He really liked his visits and enjoyed the setup there. Shaq is a quiet guy, and Coach Turgeon's personality is a good fit for him."
A native of the Bahamas, Cleare is ranked No. 29 in the latest Rivals150 national list of 2012 players. He is listed as the No. 6 center in the country.
Cleare becomes the Terrapins' second commitment for the Class of 2012, joining Virginia point guard Seth Allen. Cleare brings power and intensity to the court, but he also has soft hands and a nice touch from 12 feet and within.