The University of Maryland men's basketball team added an important recruit yesterday when Montrose Christian guard Greivis Vasquez signed a national letter-of-intent to play for the Terrapins. Vasquez, a native of Venezuela, is a versatile, 6-foot-5 player who averaged 12.6 points last year in his first season playing for the Mustangs.

Many of the Washington area's top basketball players sat in their school gymnasiums and libraries yesterday for ceremonies to commemorate signing their scholarship papers on the first day of the weeklong early signing period. Players who do not sign now will have to wait until April to do so.

However, few top prospects remain uncommitted, with most of the region's top players -- boys and girls -- making their choices publicly known well in advance. Vasquez, who can play several positions, was perhaps the top local player yet to announce his choice. He said he picked Maryland over Virginia Tech and Gonzaga largely because he wanted to remain close to the area and to play in the Atlantic Coast Conference.

"When I started playing pickup games [over the summer with Maryland's players], I felt I needed to come here," Vasquez said. He was one of three Montrose players to sign yesterday; forward Kevin Durant signed with Texas and forward Ben Thomas with James Madison.

Yesterday's other big recruiting news came from DeMatha guard Austin Freeman, a third-team All-Met last season. Though only a junior and still a year away from being able to make his college choice official, Freeman announced he had committed to play for Georgetown, picking the Hoyas over Maryland, Notre Dame and North Carolina State.

"He really liked the players that they have coming in, the players they currently have, and he loves the coaching staff," DeMatha Coach Mike Jones said. "His family wanted him close to them. Obviously [Georgetown] plays in the Big East. It's a great Catholic school with a great academic reputation. There's a ton of reasons why he picked them. With his final four choices, he really couldn't have made a bad decision."

DeMatha guard Nigel Munson, a second-team All-Met, signed with Virginia Tech yesterday.