Karcher puts off signing intent letter St. Frances standout reconsiders decision to attend Villanova; Leaves Terps door open; Area's Dixon, Morris to sign with Maryland

Despite orally committing to Villanova last month, St. Frances 6-foot-5 swingman Mark Karcher, last year's Baltimore Sun All-Metro Boys Basketball Player of the Year, said yesterday, "I will not sign early."

Today is the start of the one-week early signing period of NCAA letters of intent for high school seniors accepting athletic scholarships to play basketball and several other sports.


Karcher, a two-time All-Metro pick, had made his commitment to Villanova without visiting any other schools, including Maryland, Kentucky, Clemson and Miami, which were high on his list. But despite his announced intention to attend Villanova, Karcher continued to be recruited by the Terps and several other programs, including Seton Hall, Rutgers and Auburn.

"I was just looking at the situation and everything. I've got to make the decision, and I've got [to be able] to live with it," said Karcher, a preseason All-American in Street & Smith's who averaged 24.4 points, 8.7 rebounds and 6.6 assists last year, leading 28-4 St. Frances to its first No. 1 ranking. "I wasn't really worried about what other people think. Maryland was one of my top schools also, [so] I'm going to wait until the spring."


Karcher's coach, William Wells, said, "I think it's a good move right now for Mark.

"When he went out there, I think he really liked Villanova," Wells said. "[But] with all that's going on here in Maryland, I think it's wise for him to wait and see what he does on his [Scholastic Assessment Test] scores and then make his decision."

If Maryland gets Karcher, it would give Terps coach Gary Williams his best recruiting class ever from the state of Maryland.

Calvert Hall coach Mark Amatucci said yesterday that his All-Metro shooting guard Juan Dixon, thought to be among the nation's top 100 Division I prospects, will sign a letter of intent today accepting a full basketball scholarship with the Terps.

Maryland also expects to get Thomas Johnson's Terrence Morris, a 6-8 forward, who orally committed to the Terps as a junior, choosing them over Providence, which he visited in September.

Neither Morris nor Thomas Johnson coach Tom Dickman could be reached, but Morris is considered by some to be one of the nation's top 25 high school players, even being rated ahead of Karcher in some tout sheets.

Dixon, 6-2 1/2 and 175 pounds, will be the first Calvert Hall basketball player to go to an Atlantic Coast Conference school since Duane Ferrell, now with the Indiana Pacers, left Georgia Tech in 1988. Dixon averaged 21.9 points and 4.4 rebounds in leading the Cardinals to their second straight MIAA A Conference crown.

"Juan's going to a big-time program with a giant atmosphere, but I think he's been well-prepared at Calvert Hall, and should be ready for the adjustment," Amatucci said. "He's used to some of the pressures, academically, that he'll experience there. The situation at Maryland is a nice fit."


Among other area boys basketball players, 6-5 forward John Williams of Broadneck is headed for Navy. He received an appointment to the academy last week. Navy athletes do not sign letters of intent.

Two members of C. Milton Wright's Class 3A state semifinalist girls basketball team will sign later this week: frontcourt players Nicole Nimmo (Hofstra) and Betsy Blum (Fairleigh Dickinson).

Several area boys lacrosse players will sign today, and at least six girls lacrosse players also are expected to sign early.

Among the boys, there are Boys' Latin All-Metros Aaron Vercollone (Virginia) and Greg Patchak (Duke). Two of their Lakers' teammates, Ian Shure (Virginia) and Ryan Mollett (Princeton), also will sign. St. Mary's Josh White also is headed for Princeton.

Girls making their decisions are All-Metro first-teamers Melissa Coyne (North Carolina), a two-time All-Metro goalkeeper from Roland Park, and Nicole Wittelsberger (Loyola), an attack player from Dulaney.

Others girls lacrosse players who planned to sign today: Notre Dame Prep's Lacey Aumiller (Virginia) and Lacy Pica (Richmond) and St. Paul's Mills Hook (Virginia) and Libby Hoyle (Virginia).


In baseball, Chesapeake-AA right-hander Jared Vogt will sign with Maryland today.

Centennial's Denny Chapman, a 6-4, 180-pound right-hander with an 88-mph fastball, will sign with Virginia, which finished last season ranked No. 13 nationally.

Pub Date: 11/13/96