Morris noncommittal on staying at Maryland for his senior season

Grades could play factor in his decision-making

ACC notebook

March 10, 2000|By Paul McMullen and Jamison Hensley | Paul McMullen and Jamison Hensley,SUN STAFF

CHARLOTTE, N.C. -- Terence Morris was noncommittal yesterday about spending a fourth season at Maryland.

Last month, according to his mother, Morris told her he wanted to return to Maryland and get a degree "if his grades were good." Asked yesterday about pronouncements by Duke's Shane Battier and North Carolina's Brendan Haywood that they would return next season, Morris was not that definitive.

"I really don't want to say right now," Morris said. "Right now, I'm just trying to concentrate on these games. I'll just wait until after the season to think about that. I haven't thought about it, especially now. We'll see at the end of the season how things go."

The junior, who plays power forward for the Terps, is rated as one of the nation's top small forward prospects. Should he enter his name in the NBA draft, he would expected to be taken as a lottery pick.

Morris improved his averages to 15.9 points and 8.6 rebounds this season, yet dropped to second team All-ACC. Coach Gary Williams said that he didn't expect the conference runner-up to produce three all-ACC first-teamers, and Morris understands that he had something to do with Juan Dixon and Lonny Baxter getting that honor.

"I just want all the pressure to be on me, so they have nothing to worry about," Morris said. "The situation has changed, because a lot of guys are coming hard at them now. That's good for us, because we've got a balanced attack."

Morris went into a shooting slump toward the end of last February, but the Terps hope he takes a different tack this year. Morris was shooting 41.5 percent from the field in ACC games before he made 14 of his 24 field-goal attempts in Maryland's last two regular-season games.

Kings of the Queen City

Charlotte has become Chapel Hill South for North Carolina, which has won 18 of its past 20 games here. At the Charlotte Coliseum, the Tar Heels are 18-5 in the ACC tournament, advancing to the past five league championship games.

Carolina has an overall record of 155-16 (.906) in the city.

Meanwhile, Carolina's opponent today, Wake Forest, has not enjoyed the commute. The Demon Deacons are 3-9 in Charlotte and has won once here in the 1990s, beating Georgia Tech in 1994.

Long time, no see

When Virginia faces North Carolina State today, it will be the schools' first meeting in the ACC tournament since 1986, when the Cavaliers edged the Wolfpack, 64-62, in the quarterfinals.

It's also been a while since Virginia has been in this position. The Cavaliers' No. 3 seed is the highest since 1989. They lost to Duke in the semifinals that tournament.

Et cetera

Morris did make the conference's all-defensive team, along with Dixon, Duke's Battier and Chris Carrawell, and Georgia Tech's Alvin Jones. ACC Coach, Player and Rookie of the Year honors will be announced next week. The broken leg suffered by Cincinnati's Kenyon Martin hit close to home with the Terps, who had to play late last season without affable senior Obinna Ekezie, whose career was cut short by a ruptured Achilles' tendon. Virginia has forced its opponents into 20 or more turnovers in 16 of 29 games this season. Wake is 5-2 in the ACC tournament as a fifth seed.

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