Terps try for big shots, hit 1 inside, 1 outside Smith, Bosnick sign letters of intent

November 12, 1992|By Don Markus | Don Markus,Staff Writer

COLLEGE PARK -- As good a recruiting class as the University of Maryland basketball team had for this season, coach Gary Williams still needed a few players to further the rebuilding process for the 1993-94 season.

Two of those needs -- a rebounding, shot-blocking big man, as well as a three-point shooter -- were met yesterday, when high school seniors Joe Smith and Nick Bosnick signed letters of intent with the Terrapins.

Smith, a 6-foot-9 1/2 , 205-pound forward from Norfolk, Va., averaged 18 points, 16 rebounds and five blocked shots as a junior. Bosnick, a 6-7, 205-pound swingman from Uniontown, Pa., scored 30 points a game last season and made more than 40 percent of his three-pointers.

"We felt we needed another inside player because Evers [Burns] and Chris [Kerwin] are seniors this year," Williams said. "And as good as the kids we signed this year are at shooting the ball, we needed a three-point threat."

Maryland also hopes to hear from its No. 1 recruit -- 6-7 forward Keith Booth of Dunbar High -- by the end of the early signing period Wednesday. Booth is still waiting to get back his college board score. Smith and Bosnick have qualified.

Though Dunbar coach Pete Pompey said Tuesday that Booth likely will wait until spring before making his decision, there were indications yesterday that an announcement could come next week if his score meets NCAA guidelines.

Booth reportedly has been interested in Maryland, Ohio State, Kentucky and Duke, but barring a last-minute reversal, he apparently will be playing for the Terps next season.

"I think everyone would be shocked if he doesn't go to Maryland," said an assistant coach at one of the other schools that Booth was considering. "I think it's a done deal. That'll be a nice class for Gary."

Smith, Bosnick and possibly Booth will complement the freshman class Williams brought in this season: point guard Duane Simpkins, shooting guard Johnny Rhodes, small forward Exree Hipp, power forward Mario Lucas and center Nemanja Petrovic.

Considered one of the better defensive forwards coming out of high school this year, Smith was one of the top 10 players at the national AAU Tournament this summer in Winston-Salem, N.C. As a result of his play there, Smith's stock rose dramatically.

"He proved to himself and to a lot of people that he could play with anybody in the country," Williams said of Smith, now considered among the top 30 prospects in the nation.

Jack Baker, his coach at Maury High, said that Smith "plays a lot like Sam Perkins, and he has those long arms like Perkins." Smith chose the Terps over Virginia, Wake Forest, Florida State and North Carolina State.

"He can shoot the ball inside, has three-point range and can run the floor well," Baker said. "He was only 6-1 in the ninth grade, so he developed a lot of ball-handling skills."

Smith, who said he patterns his game after former Navy All-American David Robinson and ex-Terp Walt Williams, said he chose Maryland for a number of reasons, including its minority graduation rate.

When he first visited Maryland, Smith wasn't aware of the blue-chip talent Williams already had recruited. "I didn't know they had all these great players," Smith said. "I thought, 'That's good.' "

Bosnick said he knows that some might think he is getting in over his head -- the other schools he was considering were Richmond, Duquesne, West Virginia and Providence -- but he isn't intimidated by the thought of competing against the best college players in the country.

Even if some of them are on his own team.

"Anywhere you go, there are going to be good players," Bosnick said yesterday. "You just have to work hard."

"He might not be as quick or as strong as some of the other kids we've recruited the last year, but as far as sticking the ball from the outside, that's his strength," Williams said. "It's always a gamble when you're taking a shooter. It's like Duke taking [Chris] Collins this year."

Mark John, Bosnick's coach at Laurel Highlands High School, said that "Maryland's getting a real good kid athletically and academically. They're getting a total package."

* The Terps will hold their Red-White scrimmage immediately after Saturday's home football game against Clemson. Admission at Cole Filed House is free.

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