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Ready to sign on the dotted line

November 14, 1996

11/14/96

By SHELDON SHEALER

Staff Writer

FREDERICK, Md. - This summer, highly touted Terence Morris hit the books instead of the boards.

As a result, Thomas Johnson boys' basketball coach Tom Dickman says Morris, a 6-foot-8 senior, appears to be better equiped for college when he signs his national letter of intent today with the University of Maryland.

"He could have gone to a lot of camps," Dickman said. "Instead of being ranked one of the top 25 players in the nation, he could have been in the top five. But he understood what it would take to get in to Maryland - and that meant summer school.

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"A lot of kids would have done the opposite (go to camp instead of school). I feel good about him doing that, although, I know he wasn't always happy about it."

Morris, The Herald-Mail Big School Player of the Year last season, averaged 21.4 points and 13.8 rebounds, leading the Patriots to a Class 3A West regional runner-up finish. During his two years on the varsity team, Thomas Johnson is 46-5.

Morris made a verbal commitment to Maryland prior to his junior season.

"In his case, it was a great decision," Dickman said. "He needed to concentrate on a few things and not get distracted. We could have gone through the recruiting process the last 12 to 14 months and probably ended up at square one. It would have added more confusion to his life, something he doesn't need."

Dickman said Morris has not met NCAA academic standards. Morris is awaiting scores from a recent SAT testing. Even when Morris receives the scores, they will be compared to his grade point average to determine his eligibilty status. Dickman says he thinks Morris will be eligible.

"There's a lot of great (high school) players out there who've eliminated themselves (academically)," Dickman said. "We're halfway through his senior year and he has not eliminated himself. I can't say we won't fail, but I'm confident he'll make it."

Calvert Hall guard Juan Dixon has signed with Maryland.

St. Frances forward Mark Karcher is considering Maryland, despite having made a verbal commitment to Villanova.

Morris will be one of two Thomas Johnson players to sign today.

Point guard Hasheem Alexander will sign with Loyola.

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