The first day of the early signing period for basketball recruits was a welcome event at Maryland, where the men's program picked up a promising New Jersey forward.
Geno Soto, 6 feet 7, from Teaneck, N.J., yesterday signed a national letter of intent to play at Maryland next fall. He is said to be able to play at either power forward or small forward.
Soto, who has played for the Puerto Rican junior national team, is a Street and Smith's honorable mention player. He averaged almost 25 points a game at Teaneck High last season, and pulled down 13 rebounds, three assists and three blocked shots per contest and was a first team all-county selection in Bergen County, where there are 55 high schools.
He has scored 1,035 points in his Teaneck career, placing him just 124 points behind the school's all-time leading scorer, Tony Campbell, a starting shooting guard for the Minnesota Timberwolves.
Soto's final choices came down to Maryland and Rutgers, but he also considered Virginia, St. John's, Rhode Island and Connecticut.
Maryland has received oral commitments from Johnny Rhodes, a 6-5 guard from Washington's Dunbar High, and Wayne Bristol, a 6-2 guard from Beltsville's High Point High. Neither player signed yesterday.
In another basketball development, Maryland coach Gary Williams said the school is "exploring" the possibility of playing a game at the Baltimore Arena next season.
Williams, who conducted a preseason scrimmage at Woodlawn High last week, has expressed an interest in strengthening ties between the College Park campus and Baltimore, and said the opponent here could be Notre Dame or a team of that caliber.
The last time Maryland played in Baltimore was in November 1987 as one of four teams in the MCI Harbor Classic Tournament.