2 from Southern, 1 from Gibbons set to sign with Morgan State

May 05, 1994|By Derek Toney | Derek Toney,Contributing Writer

Though Morgan State is searching for a men's basketball coach, three local players from championship-winning teams have agreed to play there.

Mike Wise and Alphonso Hawes of Southern-Baltimore and Cardinal Gibbons' Jerard Rucker are to sign letters of intent dTC today to play for Morgan State.

They will be the first signings for Morgan State during the spring signing period, which ends May 15. On April 11, the school fired Michael Holmes as coach after compiling a 31-81 record in four seasons. Holmes' assistant, Lynn Ramage, is interim coach.

"After Coach Holmes left, Coach Ramage still kept interest in me and it was one of the main reasons," said Wise of his decision. "It's close to home, and being that I have a daughter, it made the decision real easy."

Wise, a 5-foot-5 guard, averaged 4.9 points, 5.6 assists and 3.0 steals for the Bulldogs, who went 23-1 and finished ranked No. 2 nationally. Hawes, a 6-7 center, averaged 9.7 points and 10.9 rebounds.

Rucker, a 6-3 forward, averaged 16.1 points and 5.1 rebounds for the Crusaders, who finished 26-8 and won the Catholic League regular-season and tournament championship.

Rucker, who was a first-team All-Catholic League selection, scored an 880 on the Scholastic Assessment Test, surpassing the minimum score of 700 required for freshman eligibility. Wise and Hawes have yet to received the minimum of 700.

All three should contribute to Morgan State, which has had only one winning season since 1979. This past season, the Bears went 8-21, but stunned favorite Coppin State in the Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference tournament in March.

"Everyone wants to go into a winning program," said Wise, whose team was 44-6 over the past two seasons and won state 3A and 4A championships. "You have to go to places that are in your best interest. Hopefully, we can help turn things around at Morgan."

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