By Don Markus
The Baltimore Sun
12:33 PM EDT, April 18, 2013
It is no secret that Maryland coach Mark Turgeon has a need for an experienced point guard next season. With the recent departure of rising senior Pe’Shon Howard, the Terps have four scholarships available.
It is also no secret that former Lake Clifton point guard Antonio Barton is looking for a place to finish his college career. Barton received his release from Memphis this week, has a year of eligibility remaining and will be available to play right away as long as he gets his degree from the school this summer.
Barton, who has a young daughter living in Baltimore with the child’s mother, could find his way back home. Given the options among the local Division I schools, College Park might be considered the best option.
Barton said Wednesday night from Memphis that he would make his decision “sometime next month” but wouldn’t say what schools he might be interested in contacting. Barton said he expects to get his degree in leisure and sports management this summer.
Turgeon said earlier in the week that he hasn’t figured out what he intends to do, acknowledging that the list of potential of point guards with Division I experience who would be eligible to play right away is limited.
Memphis coach Josh Pastner said Wednesday that Barton left the team on good terms, and that it was simply a matter of playing time.
“I love Antonio," Pastner said. "He did everything he was supposed to do here."
Barton had gone to the Tigers along with brother Will, who played two years before becoming a second-round draft pick of Portland last year. Will Barton just completed his rookie year with the Trail Blazers.
After averaging 8.2 points in a little under 25 minutes a game as a freshman, Antonio Barton’s minutes slipped the past two seasons while playing behind Memphis native Joe Jackson. The 6-2, 178-pound Barton averaged 5.6 points in just under 17 minutes a game last season and missed more than a month with a broken foot.
When Jackson announced that he was returning for his senior year, Barton said he was going to transfer. Barton is a career 41 percent 3-point shooter who had 142 assists to 109 turnovers during his three seasons.
Maryland’s point guard problems played a large role in the Terps not making the NCAA tournament in Turgeon’s second year. With Howard gone, the Terps are hoping that incoming freshman Roddy Peters of Suitland can take over at some point. But Peters is coming off shoulder surgery in December that ended his senior season.
Turgeon has said he wants to move rising junior Nick Faust (City) and rising sophomore Seth Allen back to their natural positions at shooting guard, though Allen, who is recovering from a broken hand suffered late in the season, could also be a possibility at the point until Peters is ready.
Going to a mid-major in the Baltimore area might not be the best option for Barton if he wanted to get a ton of playing time.
Towson returns point guard Jerome Hairston, an all-freshman selection in the Colonial Athletic Association, and shooting guard Mike Burwell (a former South Florida transfer). The Tigers also bring in Vermont transfer Four McGlynn at shooting guard. Loyola has both of its backcourt starters, point guard R.J. Williams (St. Frances) and shooting guard Dylon Cormier (Cardinal Gibbons), coming back.
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