"EPPS + BUIE = National Championship!"
He went over with fellow recruit Isaiah Epps and took a picture, both of them smiling and laughing. A few minutes later, a banner unfurled at the far end of the court.
"EPPS + BUIE = BACK COURT OF THE FUTURE"
They needed a picture with that one, too. When asked if they've ever seen anything like that welcome, they just shook their heads.
For Buie, a 6-foot, 170-pound guard and one Maryland's top 2010 targets, the attention was an unexpected surprise to kick off a busy weekend visit.
Buie, his mom and Bishop Maginn (N.Y.) High coach Rich Hurley took an early-morning flight Friday and first visited the Under Armour factory in Baltimore, where Buie got a look at the new line of sneakers and other apparel.
"The shoe looks good, it's real light. The uniforms are sick. They're really beautiful," Buie said.
They met with an academic advisor at Maryland and toured some of the campus. He also met Maryland coach Gary Williams and new strength and conditioning coach Paul Ricci.
Maryland guard Greivis Vasquez is hosting Buie, who spent some time Friday hanging out with the team and will spend the night with Vasquez in the dorms.
"Greivis, he's a cool dude," Buie said. "He kind of reminds me just of me. He has the team under the control and he's a great leader."
He'll see more of the campus Saturday and will attend the Terps' football game before heading out Sunday morning.
This weekend's visit is the first of three he'll make this month. He'll visit Georgia Tech next weekend and Notre Dame the week after. Those three schools "are leading the way and recruiting me pretty much the hardest," said Buie, who didn't name a favorite. He's not ready to say those are his final three, but said that he's had the most contact with the head coaches at those schools.
That he chose to attend Maryland Madness over other schools' opening celebrations, though, shows his level of interest with the Terps.
"He's here tonight, so I think we know where Maryland stands in the order of his colleges," Hurley said. "He can definitely see himself playing here, playing in the ACC, playing at a great school with great history and tradition, for a phenomenal head coach obviously in coach Williams. The style of play and the league, that certainly interests him.
"The Maryland coaches, they've done a great job of recruiting him. They got to us early and this is what Taran wanted to do tonight."
Hurley added that Buie is in no rush to make a decision and that he will likely take more visits in the spring.
"We're going to go step-by-step… A lot of great schools are doing a great job of recruiting him and we're going to return the favor and go back and see the schools. I think that's the right thing to do and I think that's the best way to educate him," he said.
Buie said he has no timetable for a decision. "It's one that you just feel," he said.
Sitting in the front row behind Maryland's bench between Epps and another highly touted 2010 prospect, Roscoe Smith, Buie got a quick glimpse of this year's team. A shooting guard who averaged 17.1 points per game last season, Buie said he prefers the up-tempo style of Maryland, similar to the one Bishop Maginn runs.
"He's so competitive," Hurley said. "He plays from the opening tip until the game is over. He's relentless, he's competitive, he loves to win basketball games. He's a great defensive player. Offensively he can post you up, he can shoot the three, he has a great midrange game, he can play both guard spots. He's very versatile."
Before shooting around with Epps on Maryland's court, Buie hinted that he would like to go to a school where he knows somebody. He's played with Epps on the same iS8 team in New York and they know each other from the AAU circuit.
"We complement each other," he said of Epps. [Knowing somebody at his chosen school] is definitely, definitely, definitely a factor in my decision."
Buie sees the signs at Maryland
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