6-9 Wilcox commits to Maryland

Top prep prospect from N.C. gives Terps coveted big man

November 13, 1999|By Paul McMullen | Paul McMullen,SUN STAFF

Last summer, the Maryland basketball team targeted two big men who rated among the nation's best high school players. It has won the battle for one of them, as Chris Wilcox, rated the top prospect in North Carolina by some recruiting analysts, has committed to play for the Terps.

There was no official announcement from Maryland, where sources said they were awaiting reception of a signed national letter of intent from Wilcox. The senior at Raleigh's Enloe High was unavailable for comment.

The signing period opened last week, and concludes next week.

Wilcox, 6 feet 9, 220 pounds and growing, and Abdou Diame of Oak Hill (Va.) Academy were the focus of Maryland's search for more big men this summer. Several Internet Web sites reported that Diame is leaning toward Auburn.

Both are best suited to play power forward in college, and Maryland could have an enormous hole to fill there if preseason All-American Terence Morris turns pro after his junior year.

Wilcox moved last summer from Whiteville, on the Carolina coast, to Raleigh, where he's teamed with Michael Bell, one of three in-state players who have committed to N.C. State. The Wolfpack was the other finalist for Wilcox.

Wilcox led his high school team to a state title last year. Recruiting analyst Bob Gibbons described him as "the best and most athletically gifted prospect in North Carolina."

The Terps could have a long wait to see if Wilcox will meet the NCAA's initial eligibility requirements. Todd Moore, the coach at Enloe High, told the Greensboro News and Record that Wilcox needed to raise his standardized assessment score approximately 50 points to be eligible to play next year.

If Wilcox doesn't meet the initial eligibility requirements, he would most likely attend a prep school in 2000-01.

The Terps faced a similar scenario with both of the prospects they signed from the senior class of 1997. Morris didn't receive a qualifying test score until July of that year, and Juan Dixon didn't get his until November. Dixon enrolled at Maryland for the second semester, and red-shirted that season, leaving him with four years of eligibility.

Maryland has also received a commitment from Matt Slaninka, a 7-3 center from De Matha. The high school coach of Andre Collins, a 5-9 point guard from Crisfield, said that he will be offered a scholarship by Maryland in the spring, if he gets the necessary SAT score.

If Morris did not return for his senior year, Maryland would have another scholarship to offer. It currently has 10 players on scholarship, including 6-6 wing Byron Mouton, a transfer from Tulane who is sitting out this season.

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