Goodman-to-Terps no slam-dunk

UM basketball wavering on interest in Baltimore recruit

September 03, 1999|By Paul McMullen | Paul McMullen,SUN STAFF

There are indications that the University of Maryland men's basketball program has cooled on recruit Tamir Goodman.

Sources inside the Terps athletic department and those familiar with his recruitment say the coaching staff was unimpressed with Goodman's play during an injury-slowed summer.

Goodman went from obscurity to national sensation last January, when he accepted a scholarship offer from Maryland coach Gary Williams during his junior season at Talmudical Academy in Baltimore. Goodman, an Orthodox Jew, has since transferred to Takoma Academy, a Seventh-day Adventist institution near College Park, to seek better competition.

Goodman and Matt Slaninka, a 7-foot-3 center from De Matha, accepted early scholarship offers from Maryland. The Terps have one more scholarship to offer for the 2000-2001 season -- two if junior forward Terence Morris leaves early for the NBA. Maryland's priority is an inside player, but its interest in other guards has fueled speculation that the Terps' interest in Goodman has waned.

Harold Katz, Goodman's coach at Talmudical Academy last season, said the player is not giving interviews. Katz said he has heard questions about Maryland's commitment to Goodman since last spring.

"I can only say, Tamir has every intention of attending Maryland," Katz said. "I have no reason to believe they don't want him. I've heard all those things before. I know nothing about it. You'd have to talk to them."

NCAA rules prohibit college coaches from commenting on prospective athletes.

Goodman is expected to sign a letter of intent with Maryland during the early signing period, which runs Nov. 10-17. He orally committed to the Terps on Jan. 10.

Oral commitments are not binding for the athlete or institution, but there are no signs that Maryland intends to withdraw its offer. All of the publicity Maryland has received through Goodman's rise could backfire if he doesn't wind up there.

When news of his transfer to Takoma Academy broke last month, Goodman was in Israel, taking a break from basketball.

In search of tougher competition, he has joined in numerous pickup games at Maryland, played in local unlimited leagues and attended some of the nation's most competitive summer camps. He made an all-star game at a Five Star camp, but a sprained medial collateral ligament in his right knee limited his play at the Adidas ABCD Camp in July.

Goodman was not included last season among the nation's top junior prospects. His stock immediately rose after he accepted Maryland's offer, but some talent scouts lowered their rating of him after the summer.

There are issues to be resolved for Goodman at Maryland. He cannot practice, play or travel during the Sabbath, from sunset Friday to sunset Saturday, and the demands of his faith could occasionally conflict with the Terps' schedule.

Slaninka is expected to redshirt the 2000-2001 season, and Goodman could do the same. On paper, the Terps' backcourt would include point guard Steve Blake, combination guards Juan Dixon and Drew Nicholas, and transfer Byron Mouton.

The future of the backcourt could take another look, considering Maryland's interest in Tailk Brown, a 6-1 senior from St. John's Prep in Queens, N.Y., who is considered among the nation's top five prospects at the point. He is scheduled to receive a home visit from Maryland in three weeks, then come to the campus with an AAU team for the Charlie Weber Invitational, Sept. 24-26.

The Terps also have maintained contact with Towson Catholic's Keith Jenifer and, to a lesser extent, Crisfield's Andre Collins.

Pub Date: 9/03/99

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