Mario Lucas, a 6-foot-8 1/2 , 215-pound forward and center from Memphis, Tenn., yesterday became the fourth high school player to sign a national letter of intent with the University of Maryland.
Lucas averaged 12 points and 10 rebounds on a 24-8 team that won the city championship last year. Sylvester Ford, Lucas' coach at Fairley High School, said last week that Lucas had taken his college boards (ACT) and would qualify under Proposition 48.
Lucas couldn't be reached for comment.
"I think he's a real good shooter for someone almost 6-9," Maryland coach Gary Williams said last night. "He's just got to get a little bit stronger. His legs are pretty developed and he's a quick jumper. He kind of reminds me of John Garris, a player I had at Boston College."
Charles Lucas said of his son's decision: "I feel like it's a great opportunity, a lifetime opportunity. Coach
Williams is an outstanding coach. He can really develop under Coach Williams. Mario is better than people think."
Mario Lucas chose Maryland over DePaul and Memphis State, and had the Terrapins coaching staff a bit nervous when he made an official to his hometown school last week. Lucas said last week that the visit was a formality, and that turned out to be the case.
Charles Lucas said that he was happy that his son chose Maryland. "He needs to be out on his own a little bit," said the elder Lucas. "And I've been following Coach Williams' teams since he was at Boston College and Ohio State, and their style is perfect for Mario."
Lucas' coach agreed.
"He can run, he can jump, he has the potential to be a great player," said Ford, whose son Sylvester Jr., a 6-6 guard, is one of the top junior prospects in the country. "He's still growing. He's almost 6-9, and his father is 6-9. I think Maryland's got themselves a pretty good player."