Maryland has been recruiting point guard Duane Simpkins since his sophomore year at DeMatha High School. Yesterday, its persistence paid off.
At an afternoon news conference in the library of the Hyattsville school, Simpkins announced that he has orally committed to Maryland and will sign a national basketball letter of intent when the early signing period begins Nov. 13.
"It came down to where I'm more comfortable and that was at home," said Simpkins, who is from Fort Washington. "By doing it now [committing], I can concentrate wholeheartedly on my senior year."
Simpkins said he chose Maryland over Wake Forest and Miami. He said he expects no problems being admitted, given he has scored higher than 700 on his Scholastic Aptitude Test and has a 2.5 grade-point average at DeMatha.
At 6 feet 1, 165 pounds, Simpkins is considered one of the top high school point guards in the country. He was a Parade All-American as a junior, and has started at DeMatha since his sophomore year. He averaged 10 points and six assists last season when the Stags finished 30-0 and were ranked fifth nationally.
Those familiar with Simpkins said he would be the best player Williams has signed at Maryland.
"The best stat is that since he's started, we're 56-8, that tells a lot," said DeMatha coach Morgan Wootten. "He's not a guy who has a willingness to play within the team concept, he has an eagerness. He makes the other four players better."
Simpkins said he was attracted to the Terps' full-court pressure style of play and the prospect of playing right away, since incumbent point guard Walt Williams is a senior.
"I know with Walt leaving, there would be a considerable amount of time," said Simpkins.