There's been no shortage of speculation about how Maryland basketball staff will finish its…
Tucker:"I've always wanted to go to Maryland"
Tucker faxed his LOI to the Maryland staff Friday morning and held an afternoon press conference in El Paso to announce his intent.
"It feels real good to get all the pressure off my back and that I finally got to sign with the school I wanted to, so I was real happy," he said.
The 6-foot-5 combo guard was one of the top unsigned players in the country before inking with Maryland. A star on the football field as well, Tucker elected to play basketball exclusively in college, much to the delight of Maryland Coach Gary Williams.
"Cliff is a tremendous athlete who competed in both football and basketball," Williams said in a press release earlier Friday. "He's a versatile player who can play a number of positions for us."
Tucker said the coaches see him in a D.J. Strawberry-type role with the ability to drive to the basket and shoot from outside. His performance in the Capital Classic, though, showed a more unselfish and driven side to his game.
"I like to get other players involved and I just like to win—that's my best quality," he said. "I'll do whatever it takes to win."
The Capital Classic was the first time many of his relatives in the area got to see him play. His grandparents even brought signs to the game encouraging him to suit up for the Terps. It was the opportunity to be able to play in front of his family that helped him make his decision.
"Most of my family, they don't get to see me a lot and see me play since I live all the way in Texas. So they really wanted me to come up here and play in front of them every night," he said.
Tucker had already met two fellow incoming freshmen before the Classic—Braxton Dupree and Shane Walker. He played with Dupree at the ABCD camp over the summer and met Walker on his visit to Maryland earlier this year.
Tucker said playing at Maryland was something he wanted to do for a long time. But when he roomed with Dupree and Dino Gregory during the Classic and got to know the rest of the class, the deal was sealed.
"I've always wanted to go to Maryland since I was little, but probably after the Capital Classic and spending time with some of the other recruits—that's what probably put the icing on the cake," he said.
With only four guards on the roster for next year—all of them sophomores or freshmen—Tucker will have to step in and contribute right away. Like most incoming freshman, Tucker will arrive early to Maryland to begin classes and work out with the team. He plans to enroll in the second summer session which begins July 13.
When he leaves El Paso, he'll go down as one of best basketball players in some time to play in the football-dominated city. His press conference today captured the attention of the city. He isn't, however, one to gloat about it.
"Not a lot of players from El Paso went out and signed with Division I schools," he said. "I just appreciate what everybody did for me."
TerrapinTimes.com Recommended Stories
Rivalry Week on Scout
Build yourself a sky-high left-over turkey sandwich, cover it in a creamy sauce of hate, and get ready to scream!Read More
Scout College Football Top 30- Week Thirteen
The top 30 teams in college football after Week Thirteen...Read More
Outdoorsman's Gift Guide: Christmas 2014
Finding just the right present for that special someone can be a challenge, so we’ve compiled a wide variety of hunting, fishing and outdoor gifts that you—or Santa—can deliver this Christmas.Read More
Week 13: Player Downgrades
Every week, Fantasy Football Expert Rusty Reeves predicts a heaping handful of players who will decline in the coming weeks. They should be downgraded at least one tier. Chicago Bears QB Jay Cutler …Read More
The First Thanksgiving: 10 Myths and Facts
The story of the first Thanksgiving is filled with folklore and legend. But what’s the real story? Here are 10 commonly believed myths about the First Thanksgiving debunked.Read More