High school star Tamir Goodman of Baltimore yesterday notified Maryland Coach Gary Williams that he has decided not to attend the university in 2000, according to sources close to the men's basketball program.
Williams, according to sources, received the news from Goodman in a voice-mail message left on his office telephone. Goodman's decision ended a summer of rumors about Maryland's waning interest in the 6-foot-3 senior guard, an Orthodox Jew who attracted national attention in January when he made a non-binding commitment to accept an athletic scholarship offer from Maryland.
Goodman was hampered by a minor knee injury this summer and didn't play up to expectations in two major camps for top-flight high school players.
Sources at Maryland said this week that the university intended to fulfill its scholarship commitment to Goodman and was prepared to sign him during the early signing period in November.
Goodman was not available to comment yesterday and family members declined to comment, as did Harold Katz, Goodman's former coach at Baltimore's Talmudical Academy.
Williams and other Maryland staff members are prohibited by NCAA rules from discussing potential recruits with the media until the recruit signs a binding national letter-of-intent.
But a friend of Williams said yesterday, "The Maryland coaching staff was concerned about Goodman's play this summer."
The same source said Williams "didn't have a problem" with the accommodations that Maryland would have had to make because of Goodman's religious and dietary practices. As an Orthodox Jew, he would not play, practice or travel in any form other than walking on the Sabbath, from sundown Friday until sundown Saturday. Many Atlantic Coast Conference games are played on Saturdays, when three games usually are telecast regionally or nationally.
Sources said that Maryland officials had told Goodman they would attempt to avoid scheduling Saturday games.
Goodman averaged 35.4 points per game for Talmudical Academy last season, but the competition was so weak that he did not receive notice as a top recruit until he accepted the non-binding offer from Williams. People familiar with Goodman's play say he has the potential to be a solid ACC player.
This year, Goodman will attend Takoma Academy, a Seventh Day Adventist school in Takoma Park, because members of that religion observe the Sabbath at the same time as Jews. He chose to transfer in hopes of playing against better competition.
There was no indication last night which college Goodman might consider, although sources said the University of Maryland-Baltimore County (UMBC) and Yeshiva University of New York are interested in him. Many of the top schools have committed basketball scholarships for the 2000-2001 school year, as Maryland did with Goodman. The Terrapins also have made an oral commitment to Matt Slaninka, a 7-4 center at DeMatha.
Staff writer George Solomon contributed to this report.