- The Washington Times - Friday, April 25, 2008

The Georgetown men’s basketball program confirmed yesterday that sophomore center Vernon Macklin has decided to leave the Hilltop.

“We appreciate the hard work he put in at Georgetown, both on and off the floor,” Georgetown coach John Thompson III said. “We wish him the best in the future.”

Though no official reason was given for his transfer and Macklin could not be reached for comment, one source close to the situation said he was “acting on the advice of those outside the Georgetown program who thought his interests could be better served elsewhere.”

The first marquee recruit of the JT3 era, the 6-foot-9, 227-pound Portsmouth, Va., native arrived on campus amid a flurry of prep hype as a McDonald’s and Parade All-American. But the blue-chip prospect known in high school as “Big Ticket” developed somewhat slower than expected in his two seasons at Georgetown. He averaged 3.2 points, 1.8 rebounds and 11.4 minutes in 65 career appearances as the team’s primary backup for All-American center Roy Hibbert.

Blessed with a lengthy wingspan and athleticism, Macklin flashed occasional signs of his long-term potential last season, scoring a career-high 18 points on 8-of-10 shooting in a blowout victory at St. John’s. He posted other solid performances at Pittsburgh (10 points), vs. Seton Hall (seven rebounds) and in relief of the foul-plagued Hibbert in Georgetown’s second-round NCAA tournament loss to Davidson (eight points). Even the dreadful free-throw shooting (25 percent) which defined most of his sophomore campaign and likely cost him playing time seemed to improve during Georgetown’s stretch run last season.

And though there had been rumors that Macklin was irked by his lack of playing time, the timing of Macklin’s announcement seems odd given the confluence of events which would seem to bode well for his future at Georgetown.

With the departures of both Hibbert and sixth man Patrick Ewing Jr. gutting the team’s frontcourt, Macklin was expected to play a larger role on next season’s squad. And, the Hoyas are expected to implement an uptempo style of play next season, which would have suited Macklin’s freeform game.

Apparently, that set of opportunities wasn’t enough for Macklin, who has yet to announce a transfer destination. Wherever he lands, Macklin will have to sit out all of next season, per NCAA guidelines.

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