Amid uncertainty about the future of at least three potential returning backcourt players from the 2017-2018 University of Maine men’s basketball roster, the newly crowned Mr. Maine Basketball hopes to help fill in at least one gap.
“I’m excited to commit to UMaine,” Portland High School senior guard Terion Moss said during his Mr. Maine Basketball award speech at last Friday night’s Maine McDonald’s senior all-star banquet.
Moss had met with new UMaine coach Richard Barron earlier in the day and verbally accepted a full scholarship.
“I met with the coach and had a good talk with him,” Moss said. “He was telling me about how they’re rebuilding and I’m happy to be part of their rebuilding.”
The NCAA’s spring National Letter of Intent signing period for basketball begins April 11.
UMaine, which finished 6-26 overall, 3-13 in America East, this winter, may have multiple backcourt openings next season.
Redshirt junior guard Aaron Calixte, a third-team All-America East choice this season, hopes to take advantage of the NCAA’s graduate transfer rule that allows players who graduate in four years, with a remaining season of eligibility, to transfer to another Division I program and play immediately.
Two other guards, 6-1 junior Trae Bryant and 6-4 sophomore Danny Evans, also have indicated their interest in exploring other collegiate options in the aftermath of former UMaine coach Bob Walsh’s decision not to seek a contract extension after four years with the Black Bears.
Evans’ plans were made public by verbalcommits.com, while Bryant’s plans were first reported by WECT-TV in his hometown of Wilmington, North Carolina.
Bryant, a junior college transfer who began his college basketball career at North Carolina-Asheville and then Cape Fear Community College in Wilmington, North Carolina, played in just seven games with four starts during his first year with the Black Bears last winter, averaging 5.4 points per game before sitting out for remainder of the season due to injury.
Bryant is seeking a medical redshirt exemption that would leave him with two years of eligibility.
Evans, a product of Leeds, England, who helped Great Britain with the bronze medal at last summer’s U20 European championships, averaged 3.7 points in 31 games, including five starts, this winter.
The 5-10 Moss led Portland to a 76-8 record during his four varsity seasons under longtime coach Joe Russo. That run was highlighted by back-to-back Class AA state championships in 2016 and 2017 and an 18-2 record this winter that included a trip back to the Class AA North semifinals.
“His undersize is only in stature,” said Russo of Moss, who also played strong safety and quarterback for the Portland football team last fall. “Terion’s 5-10 but he plays above the rim a lot. He’s one of our best rebounders, and he plays a lot bigger than he is in terms of his length and jumping ability and his speed.”
Moss, a three-year starter and 1,000-point career scorer, averaged 19.6 points, 6.2 rebounds 4.6 assists and 2.9 steals while making 40 3-pointers en route to being named the Gatorade Maine player of the year for the second straight year.
Moss previously was offered a basketball scholarship by the University of New Haven, an NCAA Division II school in Connecticut.
“Terion has a definite position, he’s a true point guard, and he also can defend that position,” said Russo, who will be inducted into the Maine Basketball Hall of Fame in August. “If you have a position you can handle and you can defend that position, there’s always a place for you at the collegiate level and he’s proven that.
“At the next level he’s going to be able to focus on defense and leading the team, and hopefully the scoring might be someone else’s responsibility although when needed he can score.”