Terence Morris, a first-team all-state forward as a sophomore at Frederick's Thomas Johnson High last season, made an oral commitment yesterday to attend the University of Maryland in 1997.
It marked the first time in coach Gary Williams' seven seasons at College Park that a player committed before his junior year.
Although the commitment is non-binding, there is little doubt about Morris' intentions. Three years ago, while still in middle school, Morris told Thomas Johnson coach Tom Dickman he wanted to play for the Terps.
"He never wavered on that," Dickman said in making the announcement. "Duke invited him down for the Michigan game [last season] and he turned it down. . . . He wanted to go to Maryland all his life."
Dickman said virtually all the Atlantic Coast Conference schools had contacted Morris, but he had not taken any visits other than to Maryland.
"I really want to stay close to home," Morris said in a statement. "I love the university and I feel I will continue to improve as a player in their type of system."
Morris, 6 feet 8 and 200 pounds, averaged 17 points, 13 rebounds and four blocked shots last year.
"He has unlimited potential," Dickman said. "His athleticism is a perfect fit for Gary Williams' style of play."