Weekend wrap — Maryland, Under Armour and Stephenson
Maryland's recruitment of Brooklyn (N.Y.) Lincoln shooting guard Lance Stephenson got a little more complicated over the weekend.
The Washington Post reported Sunday that Under Armour’s ties with the Terps athletic program and the shoe company’s courtship of the five-star shooting guard raises questions about the recruitment.
Maryland wanted the heralded guard to be the centerpiece of a recruiting class that would help make the Terrapins a contender in the ACC in the 2009-10 season. At the same time, industry sources said, Under Armour wanted to build a relationship with Stephenson so he would become part of its fledgling basketball shoe division if he reaches the NBA.
The most elite high school basketball players are often recruited by shoe companies, but rarely is a company also a major benefactor of a university pursuing the same player. Under Armour founder and chief executive Kevin Plank is a former Maryland football player and member of the school's Board of Trustees. That means the NCAA considers him a "representative of the institution's athletics interests," commonly known as a booster.
In a statement released last night, the Maryland athletic department said it was reviewing the situation.
"The coaches and staff of Maryland Athletics are diligent in regards to following NCAA rules and regulations," Maryland's statement said. "Our business relationship with Under Armour, as the department's exclusive apparel provider, is a relationship common throughout collegiate athletics."
The Terps staff plans to watch Stephenson, a McDonald’s All-American, four or five more times this season as Lincoln pursues its record fourth straight PSAL championship and third consecutive New York State Federation crown.
• Terrell Vinson scored 20 points yesterday, leading St. Frances to the Baltimore Catholic League title.
Vinson had two key blocks in the final two minutes and hit three of four free throws in the last 10 seconds to lift the No. 2 Panthers to a 44-41 win that wasn't decided until Loyola senior guard Matt Rum's desperation heave from midcourt fell short at the buzzer.
The Barons still held a three point lead going into the final period, and with time running out and the game tied at 45, Mavericks junior Mychal Parker hit a three-pointer at the buzzer to lift his team to victory. Parker led Miller (23-3) with 16 points and Marshawn Powell added 14. Hippolyte Tsafack posted 10 points.
Andy MacKinnon led Nichols with 14 points while senior Chris Stegemann had 11. Junior standouts Ron Canestro and Will Regan were limited to 10 and eight points, respectively. Regan and Stegemann were named to the all-tournament team.
"We all took a back seat, and we're all for one," said Will Barton, a versatile forward. "We don't care about the individual stats as long as we're winning. That's all we care about."
• Maryland women’s commitment Alyssa Thomas guided Central Dauphin (Pa.) to a 38-34 win over Wilson in the District 3-AAAA girls' basketball championship game.
"It all just happened so fast. Gabby and I were trying to figure it all out waiting for our medals," said Thomas, who finished with 15 points, 13 rebounds and three assists. "We were very fortunate to win. They played exceptional defense."
In the second quarter, O'Hara put together runs of 6-0 and 8-0, and went into halftime with a 29-22 advantage. Natasha Cloud (six rebounds, two assists) scored six of her 11 points in that period.