Although a number of top 50 high school senior basketball players are expected to commit during the NCAA's early signing period, only a few did so yesterday, the first day of the week-long period. Signees included two outstanding local players.
The biggest name of all, 6-foot-10 Alonzo Mourning, did not sign yesterday. Mourning, of Indian River High School in Chesapeake, Va., probably will go to Georgetown or Syracuse -- with Georgetown considered more likely. Neither did Billy Owens, a 6-8 forward from Carlisle, Pa., who many expect to sign with Syracuse this week, even though North Carolina still is in the hunt.
Among prominent prospects who did sign is Stanley Roberts, a 6-11 center from Hopkins, S.C., who will go to Louisiana State next year -- along with his high school coach. Kenneth Williams, a 6-9 forward from Elizabeth City, N.C., expected to be held out a season under Proposition 48 regulations, signed with North Carolina. Shawn Kemp, 6-10 from Elkhart, Ind., also likely to be held out because of Proposition 48, will go to Kentucky. David Johnson, 6-5 forward from Morgan City, La., will go to Syracuse. Christian Laettner, 6-10 from Buffalo, will go south to Duke. All of those players are rated in most top 15 prep rankings of players.
Among area players, Crossland All-Met Walter Williams, a 6-8 forward who orally committed to Maryland two weeks ago, signed with the Terrapins yesterday, according to Williams' coach, Earl Hawkins. Washington-Lee's 6-11 center Crawford Palmer signed with Duke.
DeMatha all-America Jarrod Mustaf said yesterday he has not decided on a college and won't make his decision until the season is over.
The area's other top recruit, Coolidge's 6-10 center Donald Hodge, still is visiting schools but might sign early, according to Coach Len Farello. The senior is reportedly down to four schools: Maryland, Syracuse, North Carolina State and Temple.
Aberdeen's 6-3 point guard Monroe Brown signed with Penn State.
Virginia signed 6-6 forward Bryant Stith of Brunswick County High School in Lawrenceville, Va. As a junior, Stith was named Associated Press Group AA player of the year in Virginia last season after leading Brunswick County to a 27-0 mark and the state championship. He averaged 25 points, 11 rebounds and three blocked shots per game.