The Maryland men's basketball team, which already has received commitments from two high school players for the fall of 2000, got another boost yesterday when Byron Mouton, Tulane's top scorer the past two seasons, said he plans to transfer to College Park this fall.
Mouton, a 6-foot-5 guard-forward from Rayne, La., will have to sit out this season under NCAA transfer rules. He will become eligible to play for the Terrapins in the 2000-01 season and have two seasons of eligibility remaining.
"It was just a perfect situation," Mouton said. "They're losing four starters, and the ACC is the best conference."
Maryland has received letters-of-intent from three high school seniors for this season -- point guard Steven Blake, shooting guard Drew Nicholas and forward Tahj Holden. In addition, juniors Tamir Goodman and Matt Slaninka have said they will enroll at Maryland in the fall of 2000; their commitments cannot become binding until November's early letter-of-intent signing period.
Mouton, who also visited Connecticut and Kentucky after deciding to leave Tulane, has a brother who lives in Waldorf and a sister who lives in Alexandria. Although family considerations were a factor in his choice, he said the main reason he chose Maryland was the interest shown by Maryland Coach Gary Williams and assistant Dave Dickerson.
"They did the best job recruiting me," Mouton said.
Widely considered one of the nation's top 30 high school seniors in 1996-97, Mouton was a Conference USA all-freshmen selection and became the second-highest freshman scorer in Tulane history with 444 points (15.3 per game). He was slowed at the beginning of last season by an Achilles' tendon injury and started just 13 games, but he finished the season among the conference's top 25 scorers at 11.4 points per game.
As a freshman, Mouton started every game except one, when he came off the bench after being late for a team event. Last season, he was suspended for two games by Tulane Coach Perry Clark for skipping a practice in December.