Williams: Gilchrist ‘not coming back’

Maryland point guard John Gilchrist apparently will forgo his senior season. Terrapins coach Gary Williams said last night he believes the former ACC tournament MVP has signed with an agent in preparation for entering the NBA Draft on June 28.

“I met with him. He’s not coming back,” Williams said. “I believe he has signed with an agent. You will have to check with John about that.”

Gilchrist could not be reached for comment last night, but his departure has been expected. Gilchrist conceded at the end of the season he was uncertain whether he would return.

Gilchrist has until May 14 to submit the paperwork needed to participate in the NBA predraft camps from June 7 to 10. He could withdraw from the draft by June 21 and return to Maryland if he doesn’t sign with an agent. However, any deal with an agent automatically ends his college eligibility.

Agents watched Gilchrist throughout the season, and one openly followed him on the road.

Whether Gilchrist goes in the first or second round - or is selected at all - has been hotly debated in recent months. Several mock drafts have him being taken in the late first or early second round. A standout effort at the NBA camps would be necessary to boost him back to where he was at the end of last season.

Gilchrist nearly left Maryland last year after leading the Terps to their first ACC tournament title since 1984 with three dazzling games. However, Williams persuaded him to return.

It wasn’t a fruitful year, though, as Maryland missed the NCAA tournament for the first time since 1993. Gilchrist didn’t even play in the four NIT games after suffering a minor sprained ankle and elbow in the ACC tournament. Instead, Williams played Sterling Ledbetter so he could get an early look at next season’s starting point guard.

Clearly, the strained relationship between Gilchrist and Williams hurt the team’s chemistry. After an early January meeting in which Williams told Gilchrist how he wanted the guard to run the offense, Gilchrist’s scoring diminished. The Terps stumbled to a 7-9 conference mark while losing their final four games.

Gilchrist scored 20 or more points in five straight games before the confrontation, then managed at least 20 only once over the final 17 games. He ended the season averaging 14.2 points, 1.2 less than his sophomore season.

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