Devin Gray, the area's top high school basketball recruit, made his college choice official yesterday by signing a letter of intent with Clemson.
"I felt comfortable with them," said Gray, a 6-foot-7 forward at St. Frances. "I like the school, and I like the ratio of graduations [four players graduated last year, and four are on schedule to graduate next month]."
Gray narrowed his final list to six before choosing Clemson. The other finalists were Maryland, Towson State, Minnesota, Richmond and St. John's.
"Devin has been the power forward we have been recruiting for a long time," said Clemson coach Cliff Ellis, who has signed seven other players, including Corey Wallace (Meade/Allegany Community College), since the signing period began April 10.
Gray still has to score the minimum 700 on the Scholastic Aptitude Test to be eligible during his freshman year under the National Collegiate Athletic Association's Proposition 48.
If he is ineligible, he would be only the second Proposition 48 basketball player in Atlantic Coast Conference history. The first was Dunbar's Sean Tyson, who is scheduled to graduate from Clemson next month.
Gray said he lost interest in Maryland last month when he felt he no longer was the Terps' top recruit.
"I just felt kind of shaky about going down there," he said.
There has been speculation that Maryland eliminated itself because Gray may not have been able to meet the tougher standards that led the Terps to lose two other recruits this year who were eligible under NCAA standards.
Towson State remained in the running with the larger schools throughout the process, but Gray said Towson State was too close to home.
"Obviously, we are disappointed," said Towson State assistant coach Jim Meil, who recruited Gray. "But we look at it from the standpoint that we're really pleased he gave us serious consideration, not just a casual passing interest."