- The Washington Times - Tuesday, April 29, 2008

A cascade of underclassmen have declared for the NBA Draft in recent weeks, many just looking to get a sense of their long-term professional prospects.

Maryland’s Greivis Vasquez isn’t among them.

The guard opted not to file paperwork with the NBA, according to a team spokesman and instead will return to the Terrapins for his junior season.

Vasquez’s decision wasn’t yesterday’s only bit of roster shuffling for the Terps. Coach Gary Williams announced freshman forward Shane Walker would transfer out of the program.

However, Vasquez’s return carries a far greater impact for the future.

Vasquez averaged team highs in points (17.0) and assists (6.8) and ranked third in rebounds (5.7) while starting at point guard last season. His 388 career assists already rank 11th in program history.

The Venezuelan endured criticism for his propensity for turnovers (155) and ill-advised shots as Maryland went 19-15 and missed the NCAA tournament. But he also had some moments of brilliance, notably when he tied Terrell Stokes’ school record with a 15-assist performance against N.C. State.

The 6-foot-6 Vasquez considered entering the draft with the intention of receiving evaluations from pro teams before ultimately returning to school. But late last week, he concluded he would not go through the process this year.

The decision has longer-term implications for the rest of Vasquez’s college career.

A player who enters the draft without signing with an agent and has the option of withdrawing if he believes he will be better served returning to school. However, a player can do that only once.

Since Vasquez did not apply this spring, he will have the flexibility to stay in the draft or back out should he declare after next season.

Meanwhile, Walker becomes the first player to transfer out of the program since Hassan Fofana left early in the 2004-05 season.

The 6-foot-10 Walker appeared in 24 games, averaging 0.5 points, 1.0 rebounds and 5.3 minutes. The native of England played sparingly in November and December before serving as a back-of-the-rotation breather for forwards James Gist and Bambale Osby throughout ACC play.

Walker’s departure leaves Maryland with 12 scholarship players for next season and a thin frontcourt until Gus Gilchrist becomes available after the first semester.

Jerome Burney, Braxton Dupree, Dino Gregory and Dave Neal — who possess a combined two double-digit scoring performances — are the only post players besides Gilchrist on the roster.

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