Local basketball players ink scholarship letters; Gourdine headed to Temple (VIDEO HERE!)

by Derek Toney

While specifics for the 2020-21 high school basketball season is unclear due to the Covid-19 pandemic, several local seniors know where they’ll be playing collegiately next year as Wednesday marked the first day of the early National Letter of Intent period.

St. Frances Academy boys players Julian Reese and Khyrie Staten finalized their commitment to the University of Maryland and Delaware State University, respectively. Panther girl standout Aniya Gourdine signed with Temple.

Reese, the area’s top senior post, gave a verbal pledge to the Terps on Mother’s Day. The Baltimore Catholic League Defensive Player of the Year last season, Reese is a national Top 100 (No. 92) by Rivals.

Inside St. Frances’ chapel in East Baltimore Wednesday afternoon, Reese made it official. He will join sister Angel, a freshman on Maryland’s women’s squad and last year’s VSN Girls Basketball Player of the Year, in College Park.

Reese, 6-foot-9, admitted getting an opportunity to play for last season’s Big Ten Conference regular season champs, or any college team, wasn’t on his radar a couple of years ago.

“I’m proud of myself, I wasn’t taking basketball seriously,” Reese said. “It wasn’t my intention to play for a good school. I probably started getting serious in my sophomore year.”

The Terps got another local in 6-6 wing Ike Cornish, who attends Legacy Charter School in South Carolina. Cornish played at Dulaney as a freshman and sophomore.

Coming off a breakout last season, Staten signed with Delaware State, whose staff features a pair of former St. Frances assistants in head coach Eric Skeeters (served under legendary coach William Wells in the mid-1990’s) and Keith Goodie (served under current coach Nick Myles).

Staten verbally committed to the MEAC school earlier in the fall. He averaged 9.7 points, 2.8 rebounds and 2.5 steals, helping St. Frances to a third consecutive BCL championship and second straight No. 1 final ranking in VSN’s Top 20.

Gourdine was the backcourt stalwart for the Panther girls, who won a fifth straight IAAM A Conference title last season. She averaged 14.1 points, 5.1 rebounds and 4.6 assists last season.

Gourdine chose Temple over Seton Hall, West Virginia and Virginia Tech.

“Temple feels like Baltimore to me,” said Gourdine, a two-time All-Metro first-team selection. “Their coaches were really active and it’s just the right fit.”

Two more boys standouts, Ryan Conway and Nick Marshall, inked Division I scholarship Wednesday. Conway, the area’s top senior guard from Dulaney, signed with Seton Hall. Marshall from River Hill signed with Loyola University.