It just so happened that Haukur Palsson's visit to Maryland this week coincided with one of the most memorable games in Comcast Center history.
Palsson, a 6-foot-6, 215-pound forward from Iceland witnessed the No. 22 Terps' 79-72 win over No. 4 Duke on Wednesday. Now the Montverde (Fla.) Academy senior will have a chance to create his own set of memories on the Comcast Center court.
"He came back from his visit, we sat down and talked, and he's now verbally committed to the University of Maryland," said Montverde (Fla.) Academy coach Kevin Sutton. "He thoroughly enjoyed [the visit]. He was excited to be a part of that atmosphere, but he was also excited to tour the university and meet with the academic people. "Palsson was supposed to play his senior year of high school at DeMatha, but Stags assistant David Adkins joined Brenda Frese's Terps staff last summer. Adkins referred Palsson to Sutton, who has coached at Montverde for the past seven years. Palsson decided Montverde -- an international boarding school with more than 40 countries represented among the student body -- was the right place for him. It turned out to be a great fit for both parties.
"He's very talented and he's multidimensional," Sutton said. "He can play outside – he's shooting 52 percent on 2s and right around 41 percent on 3s. He's a very good free-throw shooter. He's averaging 10 points and right around five rebounds, but he's a very versatile player. Those numbers don't jump out at you, but we're a very balanced team with James Bell, who's going to Villanova, at 18 a game, and Jamail Jones, who's going to Marquette, averaging 15. So those are pretty good numbers for a kid who's the sixth man. But he's very talented -- he also rebounds well for his position. He'll be a really good player at the University of Maryland."
Palsson, who picked the Terps over South Florida, is now part of a five-man class for 2010. He joins Oak Hill (Va.) Academy combo guard Pe'Shon Howard, St. Anthony (N.J.) power forward Ashton Pankey, Miller School (Va.) small forward Mychal Parker and Tucson (Ariz.) Santa Rita point guard Terrell Stoglin as future Terps. Sutton thinks Palsson will fit in well with the group and be a perfect fit for Maryland's system.
"They love his skill set and they love the fact that he's coming from a program where we've been fortunate in seven years to produce many players that have been very successful at the collegiate level," Sutton said. "I think he's a player that will do very well playing for Gary Williams because he's a Gary type of player. He wasn't on everyone's recruiting radar, but he's going to be a very good player for Maryland. He's a tough-minded kid."