Gilchrist to Transfer From Maryland

Maryland forward-center Gus Gilchrist, a highly touted recruit who was being counted upon to help revive the basketball program, has requested and been granted a release from his scholarship.

Gilchrist, a 6-foot-10 native of Temple Hills, Md., committed to Maryland last October after he was released from his National Letter of Intent with Virginia Tech. Due to NCAA transfer rules and intra-conference Atlantic Coast Conference transfer rules, he was to sit out until second semester of the 2008-2009 season, and would have had two-and-a-half years of eligibility remaining.

After appealing the ACC twice to regain some of his lost eligibility and losing by school votes of 11-0 and 10-1 – Maryland was not allowed to vote – he decided to find a new home and a fresh four years of playing time, said his trainer and mentor, Terrelle Woody.

"He just got his release so that he'll have the opportunity to find a school where he can have his full four years of eligibility," Woody said. "Basically, he wants to have the opportunity to have his years back and the ACC didn't give him that.

"Everything at Maryland, he loves. He loves Coach Williams, loves the school, the people, his teammates. But we felt like he should have the opportunity to have four years," Woody said.

Woody said Gilchrist's decision to transfer had nothing to do with the recent ups and downs on or off the court at Maryland, where several recent player recruitments have fallen through for various reasons and the team has disappointed in recent years. And sitting out for a second consecutive season was a negative, but wasn't enough to change his mind.

"Nah, no state of the program [issues] Gus was ready to play with his teammates and win games," he said. "It wasn't [an easy decision]. It's something that he felt would be best for him, to get his full four years of college."

Gilchrist, rated the No. 55 player and No. 11 center in the Class of 2007, is a versatile big man who can put up points from inside and out. He was named MVP of the 2007 Capital Classic after scoring 24 points and grabbing nine rebounds. Maryland began to recruit him last fall and after a quick courtship, the Terps received his commitment over schools such as Georgetown, West Virginia, Virginia and Kentucky.

Gilchrist verbally committed to Virginia Tech February of his junior year at Friendly High School in Fort Washington, Md., from which he transferred the following year, landing at nearby Progressive Christian Academy. But he asked out his Letter of Intent at Virginia Tech last May, citing the recent on-campus shootings. After a contentious back-and-forth with Hokies coach Seth Greenberg, he was granted his release.

He was thought to be likely headed for Georgetown or West Virginia until Maryland assistant coach Chuck Driesell swooped in, brought Gilchrist and his parents to campus for a visit and secured his verbal commitment.

At that point, national recruiting director Dave Telep told "You're getting a top-100 player from the Class of 2007 and one of the top post-graduate players on the board. He's one of the top four or five bigs available … I think he would have had an impact at Virginia Tech as a freshman and can be a three-to-four year starter in the ACC if he continues to work."

After rumors of Gilchrist's upheaval began to leak, Turtle Sports Report spoke with him Monday night. He said he planned to meet with Williams to discuss his status, but was surprised to hear about rumors he might leave.

The eligibility issue "is just something we need to work on right now," he said, adding he was expecting to appeal the ACC a third time. "We're still appealing. Hopefully things will work out."

Gilchrist is an intrepid worker and spends many of his free hours in the gym with Woody. With his talent and what will be an extra two years of maturity and seasoning – three years if you include a senior year of high school during which he was partially home-schooled and worked on his game a good deal – it would seem he'd fir the mold of someone who won't likely be staying in college four years. But Woody said Gilchrist's NBA hopes weren't factored into the decision.

"That's something that, you never know. God willing, if he keeps working and stays healthy, [an early NBA entrance] could happen. But that's not something you base your education on."

Gilchrist will likely begin to form a list of potential schools, highly unlikely to include any from the ACC, toward the end of the week. He'll take visits this summer, make a commitment – his third to a different college – and enroll this fall.

Maryland, meantime, now has multiple scholarships open. Freshman reserve Shane Walker left the program last month and recruit Tyree Evans recently opted out of his commitment, citing negative publicity pertaining to his past criminal record that arose after he signed with the Terps. Additionally, top-50 national recruit Sean Mosley from Baltimore has not yet qualified academically, said his father, Richard Mosley.

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