Terps lose out on Leach as center picks Indiana Hoosiers' graduation rate, early chance to play cited

November 03, 1998|By Paul McMullen | Paul McMullen,SUN STAFF

Maryland has lost the recruiting chase for George Leach, as the 6-foot-10 center from Charlotte, N.C., has chosen Indiana over the Terps.

Leach cited Indiana's graduation rate and the higher probability of playing there early. He visited the College Park campus last weekend, and decided late Sunday night that he would sign with the Hoosiers.

"Maryland led early, but you can't go wrong playing for Indiana," Leach said yesterday. "Maryland will have three big guys coming back next year, and I've heard that Tahj Holden is going there."

Holden, a highly regarded, 6-9 forward from Little Silver, N.J., could announce his college choice today. He has narrowed his options to Clemson, Maryland and Syracuse, which he visited last weekend. The early signing period for national letters of intent begins a week from tomorrow.

"Indiana told us that 93 percent of the seniors who played for Bobby Knight got degrees," said David Davis, Leach's coach at Olympic High. "Maryland's rate isn't as good, and George also saw that there were already enough big men on campus."

The statistic cited by Davis does not include Indiana players who have left early, and Knight has lost several high-profile transfers in recent years, including Jason Collier, who's now at Georgia Tech. Previous data, however, show Indiana with a strong graduation rate.

The most recent graduation rates cited by the NCAA are for the class that entered in 1990. From 1987 to 1990, Indiana graduated 79 percent, 11 of 14, of its incoming freshman recruits. Over the same four seasons, one of Maryland's 10 incoming freshman recruits earned a degree in six years.

That four-year period included two seasons under Bob Wade and two under current coach Gary Williams. A Maryland spokesman said that 96 percent of the players coached by Williams have either earned or are pursuing a degree, but he could not provide a specific percentage of those with a degree.

Pub Date: 11/03/98

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