7-3 Slaninka from DeMatha picks Terps

Much-praised junior says early decision was easy

February 18, 1999|By Bill Free | Bill Free,SUN STAFF

The future of the Maryland basketball team became even brighter last night when 7-foot-3 reserve center Matt Slaninka of Hyattsville's DeMatha High made an oral commitment to the Terps.

Slaninka, a junior who averages six to seven minutes a game, will not only come to Maryland from one of the nation's most famed high school basketball programs, but he'll also come with high praise from Utah coach Rick Majerus.

"Rick Majerus said Matt will play in the NBA some day," renowned DeMatha coach Morgan Wootten said last night. "He's going to be a player. He has good hands, runs the court, shoots 70 percent from the foul line, is a wonderful kid and is improving in leaps and bounds."

Slaninka, whose father, Rick, was a 6-2 offensive tackle for the Maryland football team from 1968 to 1970, will become the tallest player ever for Maryland and only the second significant 7-footer to wear a Terps uniform; Mike Mardesich was the first.

Wootten said former DeMatha great Adrian Dantley is working with the slender, 240-pound Slaninka on improving his moves.

Slaninka, who was 7-1 when he entered DeMatha as a freshman and features a sky hook, said last night: "I know I need to build myself up and work out a lot. This is a great opportunity for me. I wanted to commit early so I could focus on the classroom. I never really wanted to go anywhere else but Maryland."

Pub Date: 2/18/99

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