With high school basketball players finally able to make their college commitments official, the busiest person in Prince George's County might be Riverdale Baptist girls' basketball coach Diane Richardson. The Crusaders expect to have six seniors sign national letters-of-intent during the week-long signing period that began yesterday. Players who do not sign during this time will have to wait until April to make their commitments official.
Headlining Riverdale's commitments is guard Demauria Lyles, who had pledged to Maryland. She was one of at least three Crusaders expected to sign their scholarship papers yesterday during a ceremony at the Upper Marlboro school. Transfer Vicki Collier, a fourth-team All-Met forward last season at Largo High, was expected to sign with Old Dominion and guard Lindsay Harris with Rhode Island.
Also, Richardson said, point guard Alexis Abraham -- a transfer from Good Counsel -- is choosing between Temple and Clemson. Point guard Natalie Gramblin and guard Rashauna Hobbs also could make their selections binding this week.
"For us this year, with nine seniors, to have six out of the way [before the season] is a good feeling," Richardson said. "We can go ahead and play and worry about those other three."
Also expected to sign this week is Eleanor Roosevelt center Selena Nwude. The 6-foot-5 senior committed to Pittsburgh last month.
Although it is not considered a strong year in the county for boys' basketball prospects, several players also planned to sign letters-of-intent. At Riverdale Baptist, guard Chris McFarland was expected to sign yesterday with St. Francis (Pa.). Eleanor Roosevelt was expected to have two players sign: forward Jourdan Morris (who played at Roosevelt as a sophomore and Montrose Christian last season before re-enrolling at Roosevelt) with St. Bonaventure and guard Branden McDonald with St. Peter's.
DeMatha guard Nigel Munson, a second-team All-Met last season, was expected to sign with Virginia Tech. Friendly forward Hillary Haley, who last week committed to East Carolina, also was expected to sign yesterday.
"In comparison to past years, the talent is a little down this year," Gwynn Park Coach Steve Matthews said. "We do have some talented kids, but we don't have as many as we normally have."
Gwynn Park guard Corey Allmond and Marcus Ashton will wait until the spring to decide their next school. Allmond has offers from Jacksonville and Buffalo, Matthews said. Both of those schools have strong ties to the Washington area. Buffalo assistant Chris Hawkins was Bladensburg High's head coach for two seasons. Jacksonville Coach Cliff Warren is from Silver Spring and went to Paint Branch High.