COLLEGE PARK -- When Kurtis Shultz heard last spring that blue-chip basketball recruits Donyell Marshall and Lawrence Moten had been rejected academically by the University of Maryland, he sent a videotape to Terrapins basketball coach Gary Williams. He also sent his high school transcript.
"I knew they needed people who could get in academically," said Shultz.
The tape showed the muscular 6-foot-6 forward playing against the likes of former Georgetown enforcer Michael Graham in a Washington recreation league last spring. The transcript showed a 3.8 grade-point average and nearly 1,000 (out of 1,600) on his Scholastic Aptitude Test.
Whether it was Shultz's ability under the boards -- or on them -- that earned him a scholarship isn't important now. What's important is whether the former McDonogh and DeMatha High School standout can help the Terrapins this season as a backup to Evers Burns and Garfield Smith inside.
"All I want to do this year is to try and learn as much as possible," Shultz, 19, said last week. "Even if I don't get any time, I won't mind. But with my strength down low, I think I can grab a few boards and set some picks for Walt [Williams]."
Said DeMatha coach Morgan Wootten: "He's very strong, he plays hard and he plays within himself. He doesn't try to do things he's not capable of doing. He's one of the most coachable kids I've ever had."
Even though the DeMatha campus is only a few miles from Maryland, Shultz's road here has been interesting. He received an appointment to the Naval Academy but resigned after plebe summer. He thought about becoming a bodybuilder but spent most of last winter playing ball and working as a substitute teacher in Baltimore County.
There are remnants from each of those paths evident in Shultz. He is unfailingly polite, solidly constructed (230 pounds, down from 255) and just as serious a student as he was a teacher. One of his pupils at Randallstown High School was fellow Maryland freshman Larry Washington, a prized recruit of this year's football team.
"He kids me about that all the time," said Shultz, whose father, Ron, is the athletic director at Dundalk High School.
Shultz, like his basketball teammates, is being kidded these days about his haircut, or more appropriately, no-hair cut. Shultz had his stylish flattop leveled by a group of teammates, led by Smith and Williams, before the opening of practice Monday.
"At first I said, 'It's not going to happen to me,' " Shultz said. "But they got the keys to my room, and eight of them were waiting for me. Garf did the first strip, and Walt did the rest."
Shultz hopes to return the favor when the season begins. Considering how small the Terps are up front, Shultz can help by throwing his body around. Gary Williams also hopes that Shultz can pick up the slack left by the graduation of last season's two best rebounders, Cedric Lewis and Matt Roe.
"I don't know what to expect, but he's certainly a wide-body type player," Gary Williams said of Shultz. "He knows how to play. It's still early, and we need some people to back up our big guys. We want to see what people like Kurtis and Geno [Soto, a freshman] and Chris Kerwin can do."
The ex-Navy plebe, ex-bodybuilder and ex-substitute teacher is eager to find out just how he fits in.
NOTES: Maryland will hold its first intrasquad scrimmage Friday at Cole Field House, beginning at 7 p.m. It will be open to the public. Under a new NCAA rule, schools are no longer allowed to scrimmage off-campus.