Terps' 'other' freshmen hope to add bonus points COLLEGE FOOTBALL

November 19, 1993|By Don Markus | Don Markus,Staff Writer

COLLEGE PARK -- With all the attention center Joe Smith and forward Keith Booth have received, it's easy to think that the Maryland basketball team's freshman class consists of only two players.

Although Smith of Norfolk, Va., and Booth of Baltimore are projected as immediate starters and potential stars, freshmen Nick Bosnic and Matt Kovarik also could find their way into coach Gary Williams' rotation for different reasons.

"Some of the other guys have tremendous expectations on them, but nobody knows about us," Kovarik said yesterday. "If we play well, I think everybody will think it's a bonus."

Bosnic, a 6-foot-7, 200-pound swingman from Uniontown, Pa., and Kovarik, a 6-4, 180-pound point guard from Greensboro, N.C., probably will get some playing time tonight, when the Terrapins play the first of two exhibitions, an 8 p.m. contest at Cole Field House against the Australian National team.

"We recruited Bosnic with the idea that he would definitely be a player," Williams said yesterday of a player who averaged close to 30 points during his last two years at Laurel Highlands High School outside Pittsburgh. "He changed a lot of peoples' opinions when he won the slam-dunk contest at the Dapper Dan Classic."

In a recent intrasquad scrimmage, Bosnic shot and rebounded well, making four three-point shots in five attempts and throwing down a terrific dunk on an alley-oop pass from Booth.

"I'm a little bit more of an outside player, but I've been playing more 3 [small forward] in practice," said Bosnic, who will back up sophomore Exree Hipp at small forward, but also could play behind sophomore Johnny Rhodes at shooting guard.

Kovarik is more of a question mark. He was unrecruited by the rest of the Atlantic Coast Conference teams, while playing within an hour of four ACC schools. After getting offers from North Carolina-Charlotte, Penn State and Northwestern, Kovarik jumped at a chance to come to Maryland.

"I grew up in ACC country; that's where I wanted to play," said Kovarik, who was all-state in basketball and soccer at Grimsley High School.

Williams said: "He's a very good athlete. Greensboro is not a hotbed for high school basketball, and Matt said he had a hard time getting good competition this summer."

With sophomore Duane Simpkins taking over at point guard from three-year starter Kevin McLinton, and with Rhodes a possible backup there, Kovarik isn't expected to play as much as the other three freshmen this season.

"Before I got here, there were some people who thought that I didn't belong playing at this level," Kovarik said. "Now that I've been here and practicing for a while, I think I can get the job done."

NOTES: Tonight's exhibition will be the third in four nights against U.S. schools for the Australians, whose average age is 27 and who are 2-0 on their tour. Led by former Seton Hall star Andrew Gaze, who is a combined 19 of 25 from the field, the Australians beat Long Beach State, 86-81, on Tuesday and 13th-ranked UCLA, 96-85, on Wednesday. . . . The Terps will play their other exhibition Tuesday against Verich Reps before opening the 1993-94 regular season Nov. 26 against Georgetown.

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