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Terps strengthen perimeter, sign all-state guard from N.C.


In an attempt to improve one of last season's biggest deficiencies -- its outside shooting -- the University of Maryland men's basketball team yesterday signed Matt Kovarik, a 6-foot-4 guard from Greensboro, N.C.

Kovarik was the Guilford County Player of the Year last season, averaging 19.7 points and 4.8 assists while helping Grimsley High School to a 21-7 record. He was also first-team all-state.

More important to the Terrapins, Kovarik hit 39 percent of his three-pointers (67 of 172) and 62 percent of his other shots (117 of 188) and was a 78.5 percent free-throw shooter.

"Matt's a great addition to our program," Maryland coach Gary Williams said in a statement. "He can shoot the ball well and he dTC can defend. In watching game films of him, what really stood out was his nose for the ball. He always seemed to be around the basketball."

The Terps are hoping that Kovarik, the fourth player signed for next season, will be to Maryland what Bobby Sura has been to Florida State: a "sleeper" overlooked by the bigger schools in his own back yard.

The addition of Kovarik solidifies a recruiting class rated one of the best in the Atlantic Coast Conference, if not the country, by several high school talent evaluators. He joins McDonald's All-American Keith Booth, a 6-6 swingman from Dunbar; Joe Smith, a 6-9 center from Norfolk, Va.; and Nick Bosnic, a 6-7 guard from Uniontown, Pa.

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