Potomac junior point guard Eric Hayes, who has received nine Division I basketball scholarship offers, including five from Atlantic Coast Conference schools, probably will commit to a school before the end of the upcoming season, said his coach and father, Kendall Hayes.

Maryland, Georgetown and Clemson recently offered a scholarship to Hayes, joining Miami, North Carolina State, Ohio State, Richmond, Virginia Tech and West Virginia.

"There are some other schools that certainly might get into the mix at some point in time, but Eric is very happy with the offers he has," Kendall Hayes said. "To think he'd wait until summer's out [before deciding], that won't happen. I certainly think he'd be able to before the season is over. . . . We're certainly closer now than we were a month ago, but exactly how it breaks, I don't know."

In recent weeks, several Division I head coaches have watched Hayes play in open gym games, among them N.C. State's Herb Sendek, Boston College's Al Skinner, Wake Forest's Skip Prosser, Georgetown's John Thompson III and Virginia Tech's Seth Greenberg. Several other schools sent assistant coaches.

The Hayeses planned to attend Midnight Madness at Maryland on Friday and will make an unofficial visit to N.C. State this coming weekend, the latest in a series of trips to campuses. Hayes can make up to five paid visits after Jan. 1.

Kendall Hayes, whose father and uncle attended Maryland, said his son is leaning toward playing in the ACC.

"We grew up here . . . and always rooted for the Terps," said Hayes, who attended the former Groveton High School in Fairfax County. "We're in ACC country. You turn on the TV and that's what you see, and from as a child on, that's what he's been watching. That's certainly of interest to him, but that's not to discount the other schools [in other conferences]. While he may be leaning in that direction, [to the ACC], I don't know that it's etched in stone."

The 6-foot-3 Hayes averaged 12.3 points, 7.6 assists and 3.2 steals last season on a team that went 29-1 and reached the Virginia AAA state championship. He shot 52 percent from the floor and 91 percent from the foul line.

Kendall Hayes, who has a 372-114 record in 19 seasons at Potomac, is unsure whether he will continue to coach after his son graduates from high school in 2006.

"I definitely want to stay involved in his career," Hayes said. "Whether that means I'd have to stop coaching to do that, I don't know. . . . That thought's gone through my mind more than once and sometimes I'm on one side of the fence and other times I'm on the other side of the fence. I enjoy coaching here quite a bit, and I enjoyed coaching before Eric was here and I'm sure I'd enjoy coaching after he's gone. . . . If I can do both, I certainly will. That'd be ideal for me."

Forest Park's Smith Transfers

The transfer of junior forward Ramon Smith to St. Stephen's/St. Agnes has left Forest Park without its top five scorers from last season and much work to do when practice starts Nov. 15.

Bruins Coach Kirby Overman said he was told that Smith transferred to the Alexandria private school for academic reasons. Smith averaged 13.2 points last season, with 29 three-pointers. He was a second-team all-Cardinal District choice.

"He was a skilled player," Overman said. "This summer, I think he had become a little more aggressive and improved a little bit. He . . . had gained a little bit more skill."

"We're glad to have him," St. Stephen's Coach Kevin McLinton said. "I think with his ability, the sky's the limit. He's very coachable and athletic and has good court sense. He shoots the ball well, handles the ball well and is very aggressive going to the basket. If he does some of the things we ask him to do . . . he's got the capabilities of possibly being a very good basketball player."

Forest Park senior guard Lenzie Adams, the team's sixth man last year, is the Bruins' most experienced returning player. Forest Park went 14-7 last season, the best record in the program's four-year history.

Gar-Field Graduates to Square Off

Gar-Field Coach Andy Gray has circled three dates on his calendar -- Dec. 1, Dec. 18 and Dec. 21. They are not necessarily dates the Indians play, but dates in which there are college games featuring ex-Indians on each squad.

Navy junior guard David Hooper, a 2001 Gar-Field graduate, will face Morgan State senior forward Aaron Andrews, a 2000 Gar-Field grad, on Dec. 1. Andrews was the Bears' leading scorer (11.0 ppg) and rebounder (6.2 rpg) last year; Hooper was the Midshipmen's second-leading scorer (7.8 ppg) and rebounder (4.0 rpg).

Hooper will face 2004 Gar-Field grad Chris Vann when Navy plays at Mount St. Mary's on Dec. 21. Vann, a freshman guard, scored 1,335 points at Gar-Field.

And Vann will meet up with 2001 grad Akeem Scott when the Mountaineers play at High Point on Dec. 18. Scott, a junior guard, played his first two years at Maryland junior colleges. Last season he was an honorable mention junior college all-American.

"It's kind of a neat thing to have that many players [in college] all at once and actually competing against each other," Gray said.

Eric Hayes, a Potomac junior, is leaning toward attending one of the five ACC schools that have offered him a scholarship, his father, Kendall Hayes, said.