The University of Maryland will be the next stop in the incredible story of Tamir Goodman.
Yesterday Goodman became the latest Baltimore prep basketball star to accept a scholarship offer to play for the Terps from coach Gary Williams. While Keith Booth, Rodney Elliott and Juan Dixon attended powers like Dunbar and Calvert Hall, Goodman is a student at Talmudical Academy, an all-boys school that had little athletic identity outside the Jewish community until he came along.
One other thing: Goodman is only a junior. He won't sign a letter of intent with Maryland until next November, and he'll enroll as a student at College Park in the fall of 2000.
Goodman is a 6-foot-3, 155-pound package of fundamentals and flash, and he's averaging more than 34 points, eight assists and seven rebounds. His name wasn't listed among the nation's top recruiting prospects when the season began, in part because this is only his second season of organized basketball.
"I think he's the best-kept secret in America," said Harold Katz, the coach and athletic director at Talmudical Academy. "Why do you offer a scholarship to a junior? Because you don't want anyone else to offer him."
Goodman is continuing a trend of early commitments for Maryland, where sophomore forward Terence Morris announced his intention to play for the Terps in September 1995, before he began his junior season at Thomas Johnson High in Frederick.
Last spring, highly regarded point guard Steve Blake committed to Maryland at the end of his junior year. He's now at Oak Hill Academy in Mouth of Wilson, Va.
Whereas Morris and Blake were national names, Goodman was known only to some local aficionados from his participation in local summer leagues and camps. He did not play basketball during his freshman year of high school, which he spent in Pittsburgh.
Goodman averaged 27.0 points, 7.3 assists and 7.1 rebounds last season, when Talmudical Academy went 28-3. Katz upgraded the schedule this season, and in a 61-58 loss to Catholic League member Mount St. Joseph last month, Goodman had 41 points, including 24 of his team's 27 in the fourth quarter.
Maryland assistant Billy Hahn worked a camp last summer where Goodman was a participant, and liked what he saw. Williams agreed with his assessment of Goodman's potential after he watched a highlight video that shows him making behind-the- back and no-look passes, dunking, draining 25-footers and following his own misses.
Hahn watched Goodman against Severn in a tournament at Howard High on Dec. 29. Hahn called the next day to offer a scholarship, and saw Talmudical Academy play that evening against Park School.
The offer was officially accepted at Cole Field House yesterday, when Goodman met with Williams after the Terps' rout of N.C. State.
"I love Maryland, I don't want to go anywhere else," said Goodman, who said his family physician has told him that he'll grow to 6-6. "I've been a fan of theirs my whole life. It will be nice to play close to home, close to my coach, my mom and my family."
The fact that Goodman was a relative unknown a year ago is not what makes his recruitment a gamble. As an Orthodox Jew, he cannot play from sunset Friday to sunset Saturday. Had he played for Maryland this season, his observance of the Jewish Sabbath would have kept him out of five games, and possibly games in the Atlantic Coast Conference and NCAA tournaments.
Katz said that Williams told him Maryland would schedule around Goodman's observance of the Sabbath and appeal to the ACC to do the same.
"The bottom line is that he [Williams] looks at me as trying to help the team," Goodman said.
Pub Date: 1/11/99