After a long wait, Maryland men’s basketball has secured its first commit in the class of 2024.
Four-star Mt. Zion Prep guard Malachi Palmer announced his commitment to the Terps at Allison Hill Community Center in his hometown of Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, on Monday. Palmer chose coach Kevin Willard’s squad over Florida State, Oklahoma State, West Virginia and Seton Hall — the other options in his top five.
The 6-foot-5 guard played his freshman year at Central Dauphin High School in his native Harrisburg before transferring to Hillcrest Prep in Arizona for his sophomore season. Palmer then transferred to Mt. Zion Prep in Lanham, Maryland, where he’s spent the last two years and recently surpassed the 1,000-point career milestone.
The incoming freshman matches the stature Willard looks for in his backcourt — 6-foot-5 guards DeShawn Harris-Smith and Jahari Long are currently key players in the Terps’ rotation. The duo provide versatility and size at the position, which helps them in a switch-heavy defense.
Palmer believes he could provide something similar at Maryland and recently completed an official visit before committing, per 247Sports.
“Maryland stood out to me because it is about 20 minutes from my school, like two hours from my house,” Palmer told On3 in February 2023. “I enjoy how they play, their style. They get up and down, and Coach [Kevin] Willard lets his guys run. My versatility would fit in well there. I’m a big guard, I can play the one, two or three and guard multiple positions.”
Palmer fills one of just two scholarship spots Maryland will have available next season after fifth-year seniors Jahmir Young and Donta Scott exhaust their eligibility, excluding any future transfers out of the program.
The Terps are still awaiting five-star center Derik Queen’s decision, as the Baltimore native has yet to commit to one of the schools that made his top four in October — Maryland, Indiana, Kansas and Houston. With Palmer’s signature secured on the first day of 2024, Queen’s choice could make or break the Terps’ incoming freshman class.