POTOMAC -- His friends call him "Ex," which stands for Exree. But it could just as well stand for exciting, in terms of basketball. Or exemplary, in terms of academics.
Exree Hipp, who has excelled at both at Harker Prep, hopes to continue to do so at the University of Maryland and for its basketball team next season.
Yesterday, Hipp, a 6-foot-6 small forward, became the third highly recruited area player to commit orally to the Terrapins for next season. DeMatha point guard Duane Simpkins and DuVal forward Stacy Robinson committed earlier.
"I chose Maryland because of the great academics and because they have the type of team and style of play I think I can fit in with," Hipp said at the news conference he shared with teammates Serge Zwikker (North Carolina) and Jeremy Dean (William & Mary).
Hipp's name has drawn as much notice as his game. His first name means "Little Brave" in Cherokee (his maternal grandmother is an American Indian, and his sister's name is Exlee).
Hipp might be the most exciting player to have committed to Maryland this year. With a 40-inch vertical leap, one of Hipp's favorite shots is the lob dunk.
Said Harker coach Stu Vetter, "He'll light up Cole Field House." Hipp, who chose Maryland over ACC rivals Georgia Tech and Wake Forest, as well as Providence, is looking forward to demonstrating that skill against Zwikker, Harker's 7-2 center from the Netherlands.
"I see myself out on the wing, Serge under the basket and me dunking over him," Hipp, who averaged 12.5 points and four rebounds last season, said with a laugh.
Hipp, who'll turn 18 later this month, has solid academic &L credentials. He took the Scholastic Aptitude Test for the first time Saturday, and he said he was a "high B" student. His mother, Albertha, added that her son was the valedictorian in the eighth grade at Assumption, a Catholic school in Washington.
"I met with the admissions director at Maryland and she said I'd have no problems, with the classes I take here," Hipp said.
Admissions director Linda Clement said last week that she couldn't comment on any prospective player. Basketball coach Gary Williams isn't allowed to speak about a recruit until he signs a national letter of intent. The early signing period runs from Nov. 13-20.