Former Montrose Christian star, Maryland recruit Terrence Ross to play at Westwind Academy

By Steve Yanda
Washington Post Staff Writer
Saturday, February 6, 2010; D05

Former Montrose Christian shooting guard Terrence Ross, who recently broke off his oral commitment to Maryland, will finish his senior season at Westwind Academy in Phoenix, the prep school's boys' basketball coach confirmed Friday.

Ross, rated the No. 43 overall prospect in the Class of 2010 by, withdrew from Montrose Christian on Tuesday and returned to his home town of Portland, Ore.

Westwind Coach Gary Trousdale said he expects Ross and his mother, Marcine, to be on campus next Wednesday.

"From what I've been told, this whole transfer, I guess you could call it, is strictly for academic reasons," Trousdale said. "We've had great success last year with high-level players coming to us and really succeeding academically."

Ross played at Jefferson High in Portland his first two high school seasons, the second of which he was home-schooled by his mother while leading Jefferson to a state title and being named the 5A state player of the year. Marcine Ross told the Oregonian in 2008 that she sent her son to Montrose Christian because she "didn't want him to fall behind" academically.

Trousdale said Ross's transfer to Westwind, which was established in the fall of 2008, has been in the works for the "last couple weeks," and that it was sparked by a phone call made by the father of a former Westwind player to Marcine Ross. Trousdale declined to reveal the name of the former player, though he did note the player was on the team last season and signed to play basketball at a Division I school.

Chris Jones, a 6-foot-4 guard from Newark, Calif., transferred to Westwind in the fall of 2008 after not being academically eligible to honor his commitment to Fresno State. Jones ended up at San Jose State. Greg Smith, a 6-9 forward from Vallejo, Calif., also played at Westwind last season in order to improve his academic standing. He now plays at Fresno State. Sophomore swingman Demarquise Johnson, one of Westwind's top players, transferred to the school from Pontiac, Mich.

Over the past 10 months, Ross's recruitment has devolved into something of an incomplete jigsaw puzzle. Ross committed to the Terrapins in late April 2009 and figured to be the centerpiece of Maryland's 2010 recruiting class. Ross declined to play in the summer AAU circuit, electing instead to hone his game on his own. When he returned to the court for Montrose Christian this season, his stock soared and several elite Division I basketball programs began avidly pursuing his services.

During the early signing period in November, Ross put off signing his letter-of-intent to play at Maryland. Ross broke off from his oral commitment in December and reopened his recruitment to a select list of schools that included Duke, Kentucky and Kansas.

Maryland was said to have remained an option, and Terrapins coaches have made repeated attempts in recent weeks to reaffirm their continued interest in the player.

On Tuesday, Ross -- a 6-5, 180-pound All-Met in 2009 -- left Montrose Christian without one of its top scorers for the remainder of the season. Montrose Coach Stu Vetter said Wednesday that Ross's departure was "a parental decision" and wished the player well. Attempts to obtain comment from Marcine Ross have been unsuccessful.

Trousdale said he has not spoken with Ross about basketball, nor has he spoken to coaches from any of the schools recruiting Ross, though he anticipates that soon will change.

"As a basketball coach, we're right in the middle of the season, you know, it's always exciting to hear that," Trousdale said. "But as a coach, you really don't believe it until you actually see the player on campus, you know what I mean?"

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