COLLEGE PARK -- What the Maryland Terrapins and forward Keith Booth did last week did not go unnoticed.
The three victories boosted Maryland (7-0) to its best start in 21 years and to a place in this week's Top 25 polls. The numbers Booth put up against California, George Washington and Georgia Tech -- 26.3 points and 9.0 rebounds a game, along with a .581 shooting percentage -- made the 6-foot-6 senior from Baltimore the Atlantic Coast Conference's Player of the Week.
It was the fourth straight year in which the Terrapins, ranked 25th in the Associated Press and USA Today/CNN polls, earned a Top 25 ranking. The Player of the Week honor is a first for the Dunbar High graduate, who is averaging 20.6 points and 7.7 rebounds.
Maryland was the fifth ACC team picked this week. Wake Forest, the only other unbeaten team in the ACC, remained second behind Kansas. The other ACC teams in the Top 25 were Clemson at No. 8, Duke at No. 11 and North Carolina at No. 12.
"It feels good," said Maryland coach Gary Williams. "The players have worked hard. I wouldn't mind being there at the end of the year."
It marks the first time since the second week of last season that the Terrapins have been ranked. Last year, Maryland started at No. 15 in the preseason but dropped out after losses to Kentucky and Massachusetts.
"It's no big deal," said Booth. "It's good to be ranked, but we just want to keep playing well."
The Terrapins don't play until Saturday, when they are host to American at 4: 30 p.m. Maryland likely will stay in the Top 25 at least through the Rainbow Classic, which begins Dec. 27.
Williams said his team won't be affected by its first national ranking this season.
"They're a pretty mature group, even the sophomores," he said. "They realize what one loss will do to you. It's not like a North Carolina or another team that can lose and not drop out. What I'm happy about is that it's four straight years we've been ranked."
Pub Date: 12/17/96