Point guard gives Terps nod for '06

Hayes, junior at Potomac in Va., verbally commits to longtime favorite team

College Basketball

October 29, 2004|By Jeff Zrebiec | Jeff Zrebiec,SUN STAFF

Eric Hayes, a 6-foot-3, 168-pound junior point guard from Potomac High School in Dumfries, Va., verbally committed to the University of Maryland yesterday, becoming the first member of the Terrapins' 2006 basketball recruiting class.

As a sophomore, Hayes averaged 13 points, 7.8 assists, four rebounds, and 3.2 steals in leading Potomac, a team coached by his father, Kendall Hayes, to a 29-1 record last year. Hayes shot 53 percent from the floor and 92 percent from the free-throw line.

Hayes chose Maryland, a team he has always rooted for, over North Carolina State, Wake Forest and six other schools that offered scholarships.

"It was the coaches, and I really like the Comcast Center," said Hayes, who said that he wanted to verbally commit before his junior season so he can focus on playing. "I think those were the two things that put Maryland over the top."

Hayes also said the chance to come in as a freshman and play right away factored into his decision. The Terps' current point guards, John Gilchrist and Sterling Ledbetter, are both juniors, and finding the team's future floor general was a recruiting priority for Williams and his staff.

Lauded for his intelligence and his passing ability, Hayes has already drawn comparisons to former Terp and current Washington Wizard Steve Blake. The Rivals.com national recruiting service has Hayes listed as the 101st-ranked player and the 24th-best point guard in the 2006 class.

Maryland, which has at least two scholarships available for 2005, has yet to receive any verbal commitments for next year, though it is expecting a decision soon from Shane Clark, a 6-7, 190-pound forward now at Virginia's Hargrave Military Academy.

Clark, who started his high school career at Cardinal Dougherty in Philadelphia, has narrowed his choices to Maryland and Villanova.

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