November 18, 1998
COLLEGE PARK, Md. – Steve Blake (Miami, Fla.), Tahj Holden (Red Bank, N.J.), and Drew Nicholas (Hempstead, N.Y.) have all signed National Letters of Intent to attend the University of Maryland and play men’s basketball announced head coach Gary Williams. The early signing period for high school seniors to sign letters of intent began on Nov. 11 and ends Nov. 18.
Blake, a 6-3 point guard, was an honorable mention All-Florida selection by USA Today as a junior at Miami Senior High School. He averaged 12 points and seven assists as a junior and is attending Oak Hill Academy in Virginia this season. Recruiting expert Brick Oettinger rates him as the sixth best high school point guard. Said Oettinger: “He is solid and smart. He may very well be rated higher by the end of his senior season.”
Holden, a 6-10 forward, is a consensus top 50 prospect by the major recruiting publications. He is currently in his senior year at Red Bank (N.J.) Regional High School. He averaged 15 points, seven rebounds and three assists per game as a junior. Said renowned recruiting expert Bob Gibbons: “He’s a very good athlete for a 6-10 player. He has an excellent outside touch and he has Danny Manning type ability.”
Nicholas is a 6-3 shooting guard who is listed among the nation’s top 100 recruits. He averaged 17 points per game as a junior at Long Island Lutheran High, helping his school reach the championship game of the state tournament last season. Nicholas performed well during the Charlie Weber Invitational Tournament in College Park in September, playing as a member of the Long Island Panthers. Nicholas scored 39 points in the recently played Lupus Basketball Charity Classic. He was named the most valuable player on the Nassau County team.
Both Blake and Holden played internationally for the United States last summer. Blake averaged 4.0 points and 3.3 assists for the U.S. Men’s Junior team that had a 6-0 record and qualified for next summer’s World Junior Championships. He recorded five assists against Brazil and scored eight points against Canada.
Holden helped lead the USA Men’s Youth team to the World Championship title. He averaged 5.4 points and 2.4 rebounds in five games. He shot 61.9 percent from the field and had six steals.
“We are very pleased that these three nationally ranked and highly recruited players will join us next season,” said Williams. “They will be a great addition to our team and will complement our returning players very well. They will allow us to continue our success both inside and outside of the conference.”
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