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Prep basketball: Bowers signs for tall order By KEVIN BRADFORD, Staff Writer Archbishop Spalding senior Will Bowers admitted he didn't even like basketball as a freshman. With that mindset, who could have predicted he would make it this far? "I wasn't a college basketball fan when I was young. I didn't like basketball in ninth grade. I only played because I was tall," Bowers said Back then, Bowers was a tall, but skinny 6-foot-7, 190-pound freshman who was struggling to grow into his body and deal with life on junior varsity as the tall kid on campus at Spalding. "I was only the fourth or fifth best player on junior varsity," Bowers said. As Bowers grew taller and filled out each year, his talents and outlook on the sport also changed for the better. "I'm a completely different player now. Back then I was weak, uncoordinated and didn't like the game. Now I have a deep love and passion for the game and that's the difference," Bowers said. Now a 7-foot, 250-pound center, his meteoric rise into a national college basketball recruit was completed yesterday when he signed a national letter-of-intent with the University of Maryland. With the simple stroke of a pen during a ceremony in Spalding's gymnasium, Bowers made history. Proudly donning a red Maryland hat and T-shirt, Bowers became the first Anne Arundel County basketball player to sign with the Terrapins out of high school. "It's a great accomplishment. I just feel so happy and fortunate to get a scholarship to Maryland," Bowers said. "All the hard work paid off. This is just the beginning for me. I hope I have a lot of great years in basketball ahead of me." Bowers said he isn't sure if it has sunk in yet. "I'm trying not to get too focused in on what's happening. This is probably one of the most important days of my life. I'll look back on this day and remember it clearly," he said. Bowers couldn't have planned a better time to go to Maryland, which won its first national championship in school history last year in its second straight trip to the Final Four. The Terrapins also opened their new 17,847-seat Comcast Center on Tuesday night. "All that stuff combined made it impossible to turn down Maryland. Even without the national title and the new arena, it would've still been hard to turn them down when they're in your own backyard," Bowers said. "I thought after I made my decision that I might have some second thoughts down the road, but I didn't. I'm 100 percent Terrapin." The timing also makes Bowers a part of Maryland's second straight star-studded recruiting class. He is joined by 6-10 center Hassan Fofana, forward Ekene Ibekwe, wing guard Mike Jones and swingman D.J. Strawberry in the Terps' 2003 recruiting class. "With the recruiting class last year and now with five of the top 100 players in the country ... once you win a national title it's easy bringing in players," Bowers said. "I feel so fortunate. I think I can fit in well, especially with the offense they run. I've watched Maryland play countless times. "Obviously Coach (Gary) Williams is a great person with a lot of morals and character. He's also a real funny guy with a dry sense of humor. He was easy to get along with." Spalding coach Mike Glick said he will never forget meeting Bowers when he was a freshman. "Will was one of the first players I met here when I got the job four years ago," Glick said. "If you said to me at the end of his ninth grade year that he would get a basketball scholarship to Maryland, I would've taken that bet. He wasn't even the best ninth grade player in our school." Glick said Bowers made himself a better player in the offseason. "I'm so proud of Will as a player and person. He was a late bloomer. He had to grow into his body. He had the passion and goal for something and he went after it. He got in shape and made great strides as a player and athlete," Glick said. "At the beginning of this summer, he was a good player. But some felt he wasn't good enough to play at Maryland. But once our season ended, he made himself better through hard work and dedication." Bowers averaged 12.2 points and six rebounds per game and was a force inside defensively with 61 blocks last year as a junior. He earned first-team Capital-Gazette Newspapers' All-County and All-Catholic League honors, and was also named to the Baltimore Catholic League All-Tournament team. Bowers has a 1,310 SAT score and 3.2 grade point average. He said he's leaning toward majoring in business in College Park. Published November 14, 2002, The Capital, Annapolis, Md. Copyright © 2002 The Capital, Annapolis, Md.
7-footer joining Terps; other area athletes set to sign on dotted line ---------------------------------------------by Pat O'Malley and Katherine Dunn Sun Staff Originally published November 13, 2002 When Will Bowers of Archbishop Spalding signs with the University of Maryland today, he will become the first Anne Arundel County basketball player to receive a full scholarship from the Terps directly out of high school. Bowers is among dozens of local high school seniors planning to sign national letters of intent during an early signing period that begins today. In doing so, they acknowledge acceptance of athletic scholarships to NCAA Division I programs. The signing period for basketball and other sports -- including lacrosse, baseball and softball -- extends through next Wednesday. The 7-foot, 250-pound Bowers orally committed to the defending national champions in late July and will make his decision official today at a signing ceremony at Spalding in Severn. "Everything at Maryland fit into what I was looking for -- the location, coaching staff and their reputation for developing big men," said Bowers, a second-team All-Metro selection as a junior. Bowers averaged 12.2 points, 6.0 rebounds and 61 blocks for the Cavaliers (29-7), the Baltimore Catholic League/Maryland Interscholastic Athletic Association A Conference champions last season. With Terps big men Tahj Holden and Ryan Randle leaving after this season, Bowers knows coach Gary Williams will need help inside. "It should be a perfect fit for Will as a center forward in the Terps' flex offense," said Spalding coach Mike Glick. "Will has a great upside. He runs the floor very well, has great hands and passes well, can take it inside or out with his soft touch. And he rebounds and block shots. There is no doubt in my mind that Gary will make him a better player." After visiting 17 schools in April, Bowers narrowed his choices to Maryland, Stanford, Notre Dame and Connecticut. In the end, he decided for Maryland partly because the school's proximity to his Hanover home will give his parents, Bill and Karen Bowers, a chance to see him play. "That was also important to me," said Bowers, who has a 3.3 grade-point average and scored 1,310 on the SAT. "We're a close family." Gus Durr, a 6-6 forward and Bowers' teammate at Spalding, will sign for a basketball scholarship at Mount St. Mary's in Emmitsburg. In softball, Spalding's Keri Lounge, a three-time All-Metro second baseman, made an early commitment to play for Maryland. Copyright © 2002, The Baltimore Sun sunspot.net back to top
Commitments Are Sign of the Times Bowers, 4 Other Basketball Players Expected to Pledge Allegiance to Terps By Alan Goldenbach and Heather A. Dinich Washington Post Staff Writers Wednesday, November 13, 2002; Page D12 Spalding center Will Bowers has made a lot more friends since he orally committed to sign with the University of Maryland at the end of July. "People just come up to me on the street and introduce themselves," the 7-foot Bowers said. "They're like, 'Are you that kid that's going to Maryland?' It makes me kind of nervous. I guess I just blush a bit. They don't really know my name. I'm just 'That kid.' " "That kid" is one of many Washington area seniors expected to commit formally today at the start of the NCAA's week-long early signing period. Players in all sports except football, soccer, field hockey and men's water polo can sign national letters-of-intent during the period, although many will wait until the late signing period in April to commit. Maryland's men's basketball program is expecting four other commitments now: 6-4 shooting guard Michael Jones from Thayer Academy in Braintree, Mass.; 6-9 forward Ekene Ibekwe of Carson (Calif.) High; 6-10, 270-pound center Hassan Fofana from southern Virginia's Hargrave Military Academy; and 6-3 guard D.J. Strawberry, the son of former baseball star Darryl Strawberry, of Mater Dei High in Santa Ana, Calif. Georgetown is expecting commitments from 6-8 Carroll center Darian Townes and 5-11 point guard Matt Causey of Lilburn, Ga. Virginia is awaiting letters from a pair of shooting guards: 6-3 J.R. Reynolds from Oak Hill Academy, and 6-5 Gary Forbes from Brooklyn, N.Y. Among top area boys' players who intend to sign today is Dunbar All-Met guard Tre Kelly, who will commit to South Carolina. Kelly led the Washington area in scoring last season at 27.9 points per game. Riverdale Baptist forward Sheray Thomas plans to sign with Kentucky, while Ricky Lucas, who will play this season at Herndon, his third high school in as many years, will likely commit to George Washington. Good Counsel forward Omari Isreal will head to Notre Dame. Among the top girls' players signing are West Springfield second-team All-Met center Janielle Dodds (Southern Methodist) and Largo center Melissa Washington (Wake Forest). © 2002 The Washington Post Company
School, farmers play ball on sale Family sells Severn land to Spalding for sports use; By Rona Kobell Sun Staff Originally published November 4, 2002 After more than a year of nail-biting negotiations, Archbishop Spalding High School has an agreement to purchase the adjacent 22-acre farm from three elderly Severn brothers who were determined the property wouldn't become another housing development. The Upton family farm, which will cost the school about $2 million, is one of the few remaining working farms along busy New Cut Road. Spalding plans to convert the land where fruit and tobacco once grew into badly needed playing fields for its lacrosse, soccer and softball teams. The deal, which is expected to close early next year, preserves the house where all 12 Upton children were born after their father cleared the land in 1890. It also leaves the family with 2 acres near the house, and includes the stipulation that Melvin, Calvin and Ridgely Upton are allowed on the field property at any time. The deal won't be closed until Spalding fulfills county requirements, including hooking the property to the public water system. But school officials, who have quietly been talking about the deal for weeks, publicly announced it this month as part of their fund-raising campaign. In addition to the fields, the school is planning its first new construction since it was created in the 1960s -- a new academic and athletic facility that will include eight classrooms, a gym and a weight-training center. The addition is expected to cost $4 million. Melvin Upton, who at 93 is still farming, said he's pleased the family was able to make a deal with the school. Upton, who remembers when the road was unpaved and he could recognize passers-by by the rattle of their trucks, is now surrounded by expensive homes built on land that once belonged to family farms. One such development, Daniel's Purchase, sits on the former Wagner farm next to Upton's sweet potato garden. "If it's to be sold, I'd rather it go to the school, because I don't want no houses on it," said Upton, whose home sits on several acres across from the school that weren't part of the sale. "It's worth something to us to have the school get it." Even so, the deal came precariously close to falling through. Spalding came up significantly in price during the negotiations, but it could not match builders' offers, some of which exceeded $4 million, according to sources familiar with the deal. In the spring, school President Michael Murphy told a group of parents that the family's lawyers had rejected his best offer and that the deal was off. Murphy and the parents were crestfallen. For years, cheerleaders have been practicing in the halls because of lack of space. The soccer team uses a tiny field that lies dangerously close to the main road. The lacrosse teams go to a nearby vocational-technical school for its practice. One field isn't usable on game days because it turns into a parking lot, another is a mostly brown swatch -- not quite big enough for a game -- where the football team warms up. "We had one opportunity," Murphy said of the school's plans to expand fields. "And we knew if we lost that opportunity, it would be lost forever." Three days after he got the rejection, negotiators called back and gave Murphy another chance. The school raised its offer and agreed to pay at closing -- a benefit because home builders sometimes take years to pay. The school won its fields. "When you talk about divine intervention -- I'm convinced that played a role in this case," Murphy said. Students and parents said they're thrilled about the acquisition. "By the time they get everything in order, I'll be gone," said Sam Clement, a senior lacrosse player. "But it's a good investment for the juniors." Pat Brady, who sent his three children to Spalding, said he volunteered to help maintain the grass on the existing field hockey field, but hasn't had the chance because it's in constant use. As he watched his daughter clobber the ball on a recent afternoon, he pointed out the field's holes. "We go to the other schools and they have these beautiful fields," Brady said. "It's always so embarrassing to come to ours." Murphy expects most of the new fields to be ready by next fall. He said the new fields also will allow Spalding to create intramural leagues. But the school's president also is glad Spalding got the Upton land for another reason: He grew up on a Howard County farm that is now a housing development and was sorry to see it go. For years, Spalding students have watched from their windows as the Uptons tended their land. Murphy wants that education to continue and plans to put up a plaque explaining the farm's significance. He also hopes the environmental science classes will make use of a stream behind the farm to learn about the relationship between land use and water. "I think it's important for the kids to know that this didn't suddenly fall out of the sky, that there was a family that worked the farm and provided food to this area and beyond," Murphy said. "It fits well with the mission of the school -- a family that took what they had, expanded it, and shared it with other people." Copyright © 2002, The Baltimore Sun
Boys basketball: Dream matchup benched By CRAIG ANDERSON, Staff Writer Annapolis boys' basketball coach John Brady has pulled his team out of a game with Archbishop Spalding this winter, citing his opposition to private school teams who add public school transfers as the reason. Rudy Gay, a 6-foot-6 Division I prospect from Baltimore, recently transferred to Spalding from public school Eastern Tech, which made Brady decide not to play the highly-anticipated matchup scheduled for Feb. 3, 2003. "I don't agree that once someone starts at a public school they can transfer and play at a private school," Brady said. "That's the reason we're not playing. I don't want to make a big deal about it. That's just the way it is." Spalding coach Mike Glick said he was disappointed with Brady's decision, but declined further comment. Spalding athletic director Lee Dove said he was surprised with Brady's timing. The programs agreed late last spring to play in 2002-03, citing the interest from fans and players the game would draw. After trading telephone messages from Brady at his school office, Dove finally got word from the coach that Annapolis was withdrawing from the game. "John told me he was inclined not to play the game in light of (Gay's) transfer," Dove said. "I told him that we agreed to play the game before we added him, and still wanted to play the game now. "If it were me I certainly wouldn't be cancelling, but I can't speak for John." All-county Annapolis center Josh Johnson said recently that he looked forward to the opportunity of playing against Gay and the rest of Spalding's team. The Panthers are expected to be this year's county public school team to beat, with Johnson and returning player of the year Laronja Owens leading the way. "Our players wanted the game and will be disappointed, but I'm the adult who is making decisions on what's best for the basketball program at Annapolis," Brady said. Gay averaged 19.2 points and 9.7 rebounds as a sophomore at Eastern, and has already received a scholarship offer from Connecticut. Defending national champion Maryland is also hot on his trail, and has received a verbal commitment from 7-foot Spalding senior center Will Bowers. Both schools' administrators said they were looking for games to fill out their schedule. Published October 02, 2002, The Capital, Annapolis, Md. Copyright © 2002 The Capital, Annapolis, Md.