Phil Nevin, a 6-foot-11 center from Kiski Area High School in Vandergrift, Pa., who averaged 13 points and 9.5 rebounds per game last year as a junior, verbally committed yesterday to play basketball at the University of Maryland.

"They have been coming to see me since my sophomore season," Nevin said, according to the Associated Press. "I lived in Pennsylvania all my life. I just wanted to go somewhere away from home. I didn't want to stay close."

Nevin selected Maryland over Pitt and the University of Hawaii. And his coach, Sam Intrieri said, "It (Hawaii) just wasn't practical for him. Now the pressure is off. He just wants to concentrate on his senior season."

Nevin, who probably won't help Maryland as a freshman, is the first player from his high school to receive a basketball scholarship to a major university in more than 20 years.

Maryland Coach Lefty Driesell said Derrick Lewis, the high school all-America from Carroll High School, still has been limited in his practice time. Lewis has had high blood pressure and has not participated in many full-court scrimmages.

"He's been going half court, doing his drills and taking part in some half-court scrimmages," Driesell said of Lewis, 6-8, who had been expected to get a lot of playing time because of his rebounding, shot blocking and defensive skills.