- The Washington Times - Wednesday, June 4, 2008

Maryland granted center Gus Gilchrist his release yesterday, the latest jarring turn in a tumultuous offseason for the Terrapins.

Gilchrist leaves without ever playing for Maryland. His departure comes less than two weeks after the Terps released Tyree Evans, a junior college guard with a checkered past who signed with the school in April, from his scholarship.

Maryland coach Gary Williams said Gilchrist will have four years of eligibility at whatever school he transfers to outside of the ACC, though he will be forced to sit out another season.

“I kind of saw it coming,” Williams said. “I wouldn’t say I was surprised. There’s a lot of different things out there right now in terms of how kids feel about sitting and things like that.”

Gilchrist’s recruiting saga was one of the most bizarre involving the Terps in recent years. The Temple Hills native originally signed with Virginia Tech and was the MVP of the 2007 Capital Classic at Comcast Center, then asked out of his scholarship in the wake of the April 2007 campus shooting in Blacksburg.

He committed to Maryland last fall and enrolled in January. But a ruling by the ACC forced Gilchrist to sit out a full season - much like a transfer - before becoming eligible at another league school. Had Gilchrist stayed at Maryland, he would have been permitted to play after the completion of exams in the fall semester.

“If that’s in his best interest, you can’t fault for someone if they think they’re doing what’s right,” Williams said. “Gus, he saw the Duke lacrosse players be allowed to transfer and play right away. It’s a different situation, but at the same time, it hurts a young man’s development. It was appealed twice, and he lost the appeal. What’s he supposed to think?”

Gilchrist’s departure leaves the Terps with 10 scholarship players, three shy of the NCAA maximum. Gilchrist, Evans and forward Shane Walker, who transferred after his freshman season, all have left in the last six weeks.

Teammates raved about the 6-foot-10 Gilchrist after he joined the Terps in practice last winter, and he would have become a crucial part of Maryland’s frontcourt rotation.

Maryland’s four remaining frontcourt players - senior Dave Neal and sophomores Jerome Burney, Braxton Dupree and Dino Gregory - combined to average 4.4 points and 4.0 rebounds last season. In 17 games against ACC opponents, they combined to average 2.6 points and 2.2 rebounds in 13.9 minutes.

That inexperienced contingent already was on the hook to maintain an inside presence during the first third of the season. Now, it appears they could compose the frontcourt for a full year, a prospect that might force Williams to frequently employ small, perimeter-oriented lineups out of necessity.

Williams, however, insisted there still could be additions to the roster in the coming months.

“We’re still recruiting,” Williams said. “We’re not finished yet. We’re going to be good next year. We’re going to play, and we’ll be good. We have a lot of guys with experience, and we’ll see how that plays out.”

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