Maryland basketball coach Gary Williams still intends to sign high-profile recruit Tamir Goodman to a national letter-of-intent when high school seniors are allowed to accept college athletic scholarships in November, according to a source close to the Maryland athletic program.
In recent weeks, there has been speculation that Maryland's coaching staff had second thoughts regarding Goodman, an Orthodox Jewish guard from Baltimore who became a national sensation in January when he made a non-binding commitment to accept an athletic scholarship offer from Maryland.
Maryland has said it would accommodate Goodman's religious beliefs of not playing during the Jewish Sabbath -- from sunset on Friday to sunset on Saturday.
In a story last week, the Baltimore Sun reported "there are indications that [Maryland] . . . has cooled" on Goodman, citing sources in the university's athletic department and those familiar with his recruitment.
Since Goodman made his commitment to Maryland, the Sun reported, the Terrapins' coaching staff has not actively pursued the slight redhead who averaged 35.4 points per game last season at Talmudical Academy, a small Jewish school in Baltimore. Goodman has since transferred to Takoma Academy in Takoma Park.
Williams cannot comment on Goodman's status because NCAA rules prohibit college coaches from commenting on prospective recruits until they have signed a letter-of-intent. But Williams has told friends Maryland intends to sign Goodman in November and that reports to the contrary are untrue.
Until the signing period begins Nov. 10, players can make only oral, non-binding commitments. Once a letter-of-intent is offered by a school and signed by a recruit, it is considered binding.
Harold Katz, Goodman's coach last season at Talmudical and an adviser to the family, last night dismissed speculation that Goodman will not end up at Maryland.
"You just don't respond to it," Katz said. "I've never doubted [Maryland's offer]. They have never given me anything to believe they won't [keep the offer]. He's going to Maryland. Nothing has changed. . . . At this point he has every intention of going to Maryland."
Katz also brushed aside speculation that Goodman might go to Israel to play professionally after he graduates from high school.
Goodman is one of two high school seniors to have orally committed to Maryland. The other is 7-foot-4 DeMatha center Matt Slaninka.