Echenique to transfer

Injured sophomore center Greg Echeniqued pulled a shocker Friday when he asked for and was granted his release to transfer from Rutgers. He was sitting out this season because of an eye injury, but his exit leaves a gaping hole for the Scarlet Knights at center next season. Where will he wind up? has a few of the schools he is considering.

Rutgers' one-time center of the future is no longer that after he asked for and was granted his release from the program Friday.

Sophomore center Greg Echenique, who was out for the season after undergoing eye surgery last month, is transferring to a yet-to-be-determined school.

However, sources said Echenique's short list of destination schools include Maryland, Indiana, Creighton, Miami and Georgia Tech. The 6-foot-9, 265-pound Echenique is not expected to receive permission to transfer within the Big East conference, a common practice in college athletics.

"Gregory has been a valuable member of our program," Rutgers coach Fred Hill said in a statement. "We are appreciative of his contributions at Rutgers and wish him the best in his future endeavors."

Echenique must sit out a year under NCAA transfer rules, and will be eligible to play during the second semester of the 2010-11 season. He will be a red-shirt sophomore next season.

His loss due to injury this season was a blow to the Scarlet Knights' front court depth, and creates an enormous void next season since center Hamady Ndiaye is graduating. It leaves freshman Brian Okam as the only true center in the program or signed on with the program, and could force the staff to recruit and sign a center during the spring signing period.

Echenique's decision came after he and his parents had a three-hour meeting with Hill last week. St. Benedict's of Newark (N.J.) coach Dan Hurley, who coached Echenique in high school, said the decision came quickly, but was not the fault of anyone within Rutgers' program.

"Personally, he needed a change of scenery,'' Hurley said. "There was a lot of stuff that went on for him. He graduated early from high school and made a decision (to attend Rutgers) quickly the way he did, and having the injury, gave him time to think about things. I think it was the perfect storm for this to happen.''

Echenqiue started Rutgers' first seven games and averaged 12.6 points and 7.7 rebounds per game. He shot 61 percent from the field and blocked 16 shots.

In his first year at Rutgers, Echenique averaged 8.4 points and 8.4 rebounds per game, which was tops among Big East freshmen.

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