Maurice Sutton, a 6-foot-11 center who led Largo High School in Upper Marlboro, Md., to the 2008 state championship, announced yesterday he has made an oral commitment to play college basketball at Villanova.
Sutton disclosed his college choice during a news conference at his high school. He selected Villanova over Indiana and Seton Hall.
"It felt good for me, being close to home," Sutton said following his news conference. "Coach Jay Wright really grew on me. He's a great coach and I feel like I can be a great player for him."
Sutton, who made his announcement on the last signing day for a national letter of intent, is Villanova's only incoming freshman for 2008. Taylor King, a 6-6 forward who transferred after playing for Duke last season as a freshman, will have to sit out the season.
Asked why he waited so long to make a decision, Sutton replied, "I really was very careful. I'm glad it's over with. I'm glad I've got a home."
There is a chance that Sutton, who weighed less than 200 pounds during the season, will redshirt as a freshman, but he said a decision would be made "down the line." He said he was working on improving his strength, lifting weights, and that he was up to 210-215 pounds.
Sutton averaged 18 points, 12 rebounds and 8 blocked shots in his senior season for Largo, which finished 23-4 and won the Maryland 3A state championship.
Sutton said he tries to be an all-around player, "running the floor, blocking shots, rebounding, and shooting the 15-footer."
His high school coach, Lewis Howard, said Sutton excels at getting out in transition.
"His ability to run the floor at 6-11 is great," Howard said. "He's extremely long and athletic. His shot-blocking ability is tremendous. He's just got a knack for the ball. He's improved in all parts of his game."
The addition of Sutton makes him the latest player from the Washington area for Villanova, which boasts Scottie Reynolds (Herndon, Va.), Dante Cunningham and Dwayne Anderson (both Silver Spring, Md.). Sutton said he felt a comfort level with them during his visit to the Main Line.
"They're great players," he said. "They were real nice to me when I was up there, real cool. I'm looking forward to playing with them."
Villanova did not have any seniors on its 2007-08 roster but saw two players transfer after the season ended, forward Andrew Ott to Penn State, and guard Malcolm Grant to Miami.