Terps shoot for Dunbar reunion

December 23, 1993|By KEN ROSENTHAL

Make it an annual event -- the Dunbar High reunion at the Baltimore Arena. Tonight, Maryland's Keith Booth opposes Towson State's Scooter Alexander. Next year, Booth could team with Michael Lloyd against Massachusetts' Donta Bright.

It's no mere fantasy. Maryland is trying to schedule UMass for a game at the Arena next season. And Lloyd, averaging 35 points at San Jacinto (Texas) Junior College, has narrowed his college choices to Maryland, Syracuse and Florida State.

Two Dunbar players at Maryland? It would be a knockout punch to the bitter Ernie Graham/Bob Wade lobby in East Baltimore. It also would make Maryland an instant ACC powerhouse, because Lloyd is the explosive point guard the Terps so desperately need.

A month ago, Gary Williams had no idea Lloyd was interested in Maryland. San Jacinto coach Scott Gernander was equally unaware. Lloyd's mother, Norma Solomon, said: "He doesn't like the University of Maryland."

Merry Christmas, everybody!

Lloyd, home for the holidays, met in College Park Tuesday with Williams and assistant coaches Billy Hahn and Art Perry. Yesterday, he attended the Terps' practice at the Arena. And tonight, he'll be in the stands, watching the Booth-Alexander showdown.

"It would be great hooking back up with one of my best friends from Dunbar," Lloyd said. "I saw Keith at the Dunbar-Southern game. We talked about it. I talked to him again [Tuesday]. He really wants me to come.

"A lot of people from high school always asked, 'Do you want to go to Maryland?' Because of what happened with Bob Wade, everyone thought no Dunbar player would go to Maryland. But they came at Keith real hard, and they got him.

"I've never had anything against them. They're in a big-time conference, they're starting to get some big-time games on TV. I've got to look at them."

The question is, how hard will Maryland push for Lloyd? The last thing Williams needs is a disruptive player, or one who might struggle academically. Lloyd could be either or both, and Williams figures to proceed with caution.

Maryland has three scholarships to offer, and, according to Terrapin Times, one might go to Dennis Jordan, a 6-foot-10, 265-pound center/forward from Lon Morris (Texas) Junior College. It's possible Williams would bring in two junior-college recruits. But he'd need to be convinced that Lloyd was the right fit.

Lloyd will have two years of eligibility remaining after completing his second year at San Jacinto. He originally planned to attend Arkansas, but failed to qualify academically. He said his grade-point average at San Jacinto was 2.9 (out of 4.0), and he expects to graduate in May.

Williams cannot comment on specific recruits, but he knows the Dunbar-Maryland pipeline might be cut off again if Lloyd didn't succeed. He also knows Maryland's history with Rudy Archer, the junior college transfer whose academic problems helped lead to Wade's downfall.

What's more, Williams is trying to build chemistry. Lloyd would need to accept that he might not average 35 points playing with Booth and Joe Smith. According to Gernander, his coach at San Jacinto, he'd also need to mature.

"He's an emotional kid," Gernander said. "This year, he's a lot better. But Mike just has to keep his emotions under control, whether it's a referee's call or just something going wrong. Sometimes, it gets the best of him."

Lloyd not only admits he's emotional, but he'll even provide examples of his fiery temperament, citing a locker-room tirade after a recent San Jacinto loss. He's aware that some perceive him as an "attitude problem." But he insists that's not the case.

"Whatever minutes you give me, I'll give you 110 percent," Lloyd said. "I'm out there to win. The college coaches that know me, the people that know me, they know what I do. Some people take it as a negative. But it's not a negative. It's a positive. It's about winning."

Whatever, Maryland can't ignore a player capable of dominating from the point, raising the program to the next level and drawing interest from the NBA. A Terps assistant likely will see Lloyd play during the Jan. 20-30 observation period. Lloyd will announce his decision in the spring.

"I'd love to have Michael come to the University of Maryland," Booth said. "But it's Michael Lloyd's decision. I don't want to put any pressure on him. Michael will make the decision that's best for him."

Lloyd could follow the path of Sam Cassell, who went from Dunbar to San Jacinto to Florida State, and now plays for the Houston Rockets. He could try to become the next Pearl Washington or Sherman Douglas at Syracuse. But he liked what he heard from the Maryland coaches on Tuesday.

"They talked about the guard situation, how they can use some help with handling the ball, scoring, getting the ball to people," Lloyd said.

"They talked about the type of style they play. They like to press. They said, 'If our guards can score, it's a plus.'

"That's the type of situation I'm looking into. We had a good talk. I liked everything he [Williams] was saying. There was nothing he said that I didn't like."

Tonight, he'll watch two former Dunbar teammates at the Baltimore Arena. It would be something if next year Michael Lloyd were out there himself.

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