DeMatha High School basketball player Danny Ferry, a two-time all-America and one of the most highly sought seniors in the nation, announced yesterday he will attend Duke University.

The 6-foot-10 Ferry said he had decided two weeks ago, but delayed the announcement until after playing in the Capital Classic. He had eliminated Maryland by saying he would attend a North Carolina college. His final choices were Duke and the University of North Carolina.

"The three schools were close, but I ruled out Maryland because I wanted to go away," he said at an afternoon press conference at DeMatha. "I think all of the schools provided the academic-athletic balance I was looking for. So that left a basketball decision. I decided on Duke because I think the playing opportunities are better there.

"I am hoping to contribute right away, maybe even start. Duke's motion offense seems more tailored to my talents. All three schools had pluses but I liked the Duke atmosphere and I like the coaching staff."

Ferry, who shoots well for a big man, averaged 20.0 points on 57 percent shooting from the field and 75 from the line. He also averaged 15.0 rebounds, three assists and three blocks in leading the Stags to a 31-3 record and the runner-up spot in the city championship and the Alhambra tournament.

As a freshman, he averaged seven points and four rebounds as the sixth man.

As a sophomore starter, he averaged 10.4 points and seven rebounds, and as a junior, 16.3 points and seven rebounds. DeMatha was 115-12 in his four years.

He was a two-time all-Met and finished second in the voting behind Spingarn's Sherman Douglas as the area's player of the year. Parade Magazine named him the top high school player nationally.

Ferry's, whose father Bob is general manager of the Washington Bullets, has an older brother, Bob Jr., who started at Harvard the last four years.

Danny Ferry struggled a bit at the end of the season.

In the city championship game and Capital Classic, he shot poorly, totaling only 19 points and 15 rebounds.

A natural forward, he should fit in very well on a Duke team that will have back nine of its top 10 players from this year's 23-8 squad. Boston College eliminated Duke in the round of 32 in the NCAA tournament.

At Duke, he will join three other former area all-Mets, Mackin's Johnny Dawkins, W.T. Woodson's Tommy Amaker and Park View's Billy King.

"I think I can fit in there," Ferry said. "I know (Danny) Meagher is leaving, and I'm a natural forward.

"I don't know if I could have gone to North Carolina and sat on the bench and waited my turn. They're loaded with people coming back my size.

"Selecting Duke was strictly my choice and I'm real excited about it. I know I have to work on a lot of things but I'm looking forward to it."