- The Washington Times - Monday, January 23, 2006

Maryland guard Chris McCray was declared academically ineligible to play during the spring semester yesterday, ending the college career of the Terrapins’ leading scorer and damaging the team’s chances of returning to the NCAA tournament after a one-year hiatus.

McCray, who failed to meet the NCAA’s academic standards, officially becomes ineligible when classes resume tomorrow. The No. 18 Terrapins (13-4, 3-2 ACC) visit Georgia Tech tomorrow.

A statement released by the athletic department declined to provide further details of McCray’s academic situation, citing the Federal Education Rights and Privacy Act.

“Chris’ career was outstanding here at the University of Maryland,” coach Gary Williams said in a statement. “He has contributed a great deal to our success the last 31/2 years. I’m fully confident Chris will be successful in life.”

The co-captain was expected to help the Terps earn an NCAA tournament berth after last year’s disappointing NIT bid. Instead, McCray’s ineligibility leaves Maryland without its most consistent offensive performer, as well as a steady defensive presence.

The 6-foot-5 McCray averaged team highs in points (15.2) and minutes (30.7), plus 3.5 rebounds and 3.6 assists, in 16 games (McCray missed one game with a left ankle injury). He also ranked fourth in the ACC with 2.2 steals a game.

Junior Mike Jones, who started in place of McCray twice this season, is the most likely player to slide into the lineup. The former McDonald’s All-American, long a fan favorite at Comcast Center for his 3-point shooting ability, is averaging 7.8 points in 18.3 minutes.

Reserve guards Sterling Ledbetter and Parrish Brown also could receive more playing time.

McCray apologized to his family, teammates and coaches in a statement.

“I’ll learn from this experience and look forward to becoming very productive in life and as a student here at Maryland,” McCray said.

McCray had encountered off-court problems throughout his senior season. He was charged with resisting arrest, disturbing the peace and escaping from police custody after an Aug. 28 fight outside a College Park bar. Those misdemeanor charges were later dropped, though the incident prompted Williams to ban his players from such College Park establishments.

McCray also was listed as a witness in connection with an Oct. 27 incident involving teammate Travis Garrison at the Cornerstone Grill & Loft in College Park. Garrison turned himself into police Jan. 13 on second-degree assault and fourth-degree sex offense charges and was suspended for Maryland’s game two days later against Wake Forest. Williams said last week McCray wasn’t suspended for the incident because he wasn’t charged.

The Capitol Heights native also was late to a team meeting last month and was held from the starting lineup Dec. 28 against Delaware State.

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