By now, every Maryland fan has undoubtedly heard about Gus Gilchrist's decision to leave College Park and pursue other basketball options.
The parting of ways between the Terps and Gilchrist is just the latest puzzling saga in a recruiting year which has featured numerous instances of bad luck, miscalculations and changing of minds.
Here's a timeline of events of Maryland's 2008 basketball recruiting efforts. The timeline looks only at prospects who claimed UM offers. I've been at baltimoresun.com since July of last year, so feel free to chime in below with events that predated my tenure here. We'll start with one that transpired before my arrival in Baltimore.
June 18, 2007
Three-star shooting guard Brian Walsh commits to Xavier, choosing the Musketeers over reported offers from Maryland, St. Joseph's, Memphis, Penn State and Pittsburgh among others. Walsh, a Coraopolis, Pa., native, tells The Cincinnati Enquirer that Xavier recruited him harder than Maryland.
But really, Walsh said, the difference between Maryland and Xavier was the recruiting style. Maryland went with what Walsh termed "old-school" in which assistants did the bulk of the recruiting and there was little contact with Gary Williams. By contrast, [Xavier head coach Sean] Miller called and texted Walsh several times as the recruiting progressed, to the point that Walsh felt he had a established a relationship with Miller that didn't exist with Williams.
"They just weren't as getting involved with me as Coach Miller was," Walsh said. "All the assistants, coach [Mack] and Miller -- they really recruited me hard."
August 1, 2007
Terrence Jennings, a 6-foot-10 center, commits to Maryland over reported offers from Cal, Kentucky and Washington. The itinerant big man, who played at several different prep schools, tells Scout.com that his relationship with Terps assistant Chuck Driesell was a major selling point.
"Me and Gary Williams haven't talked that much, but we've talked some. I've mainly talked to Coach Driesell. Everything is good though. Gary, he's a good guy."
August 15, 2007
St. Frances shooting guard Sean Mosley announces his commitment to Maryland before a host of supporters in the SFA gymnasium. The Terps are also recruiting Durham, N.C., shooting guard Chris Turner, but Mosley beats him to the punch, selecting the Terps over Syracuse, and citing his relationships with Gary Williams and Keith Booth as major factors in his decision.
"Gary Williams is a winning coach. That's the only thing I pretty much look in to," Mosley said. "He knows how to win. That fit me because I don't like to lose. That was a big deal that he's a winning coach. If he was a losing coach, he probably wouldn't have a chance to get me. But they win games."
September 20, 2007
Jennings backs out of his commitment to Maryland, telling Scout.com that he wants to take additional visits, but that the Terps are still on top in his recruitment.
"They are still my number one school, but I just decided to reopen my recruitment," Jennings said. "I'm still going to take a visit to Maryland and all the other schools are undecided."
Oct 12, 2007
Jennings, who switched from Durham (N.C.) Mount Zion to Fitchburg (Mass.) Notre Dame Prep after severing ties with Maryland, announces his commitment to Louisville. Jennings' father, Jerry Jennings, tells The Lousville (Ky.) Courier-Journal that the Cardinals' family atmosphere was a big draw.
"When he landed and when he saw the facilities and the good people," his father said. "All of the love and the family-type atmosphere. This is something he really wanted."
October 14, 2007
South Kent (Conn.) School small forward Jin Soo Kim commits to Maryland, becoming the Terps' first commitment of the 2009 class.
October 16, 2007
Maryland plays host to Ater Majok, a 6-foot-9 power forward from Australia by way of Sudan, for a visit. TerrapinTimes.com's Dan Painter tells Recruiting Report that "Maryland looks very strong for Majok."
"From what I have heard, Majok told Maryland he wants to be a Terp, and only needs the blessing from his family back in Australia to make it official. That should come this week. But nothing is totally done until they give their approval."
October 21, 2007
After taking a weekend visit to College Park, Gilchrist verbally commits to Maryland. He tells Recruiting Report that UM's flex offense and the school's business program were primary factors in his decision.
"[Education is] very important," Gilchrist said. "The fact that Maryland has one of the best business schools in America -- that's a field that I'd like to get into.
"I'm just really excited to start school. It feels great [to be committed to Maryland]. I'm relieved that I found a school that's the right school for me all around, for basketball and education."
October 23, 2007
New Jersey power forward Quintrell Thomas commits to Kansas over offers from Maryland, Rutgers and UNLV. With a commitment from Gilchrist and strong indications that Majok could soon follow, the Terps' need for Thomas had diminished.
November 14, 2007
Mosley and Gilchrist sign letters of intent to attend Maryland. Williams praises both players in UM's news release announcing the signings.
"We think we have added two very good players to our program," said head coach Gary Williams. "Sean is a very strong and aggressive player from St. Frances, while 'Gus' is one of the top big men in the nation. These two young men will be great for our team."
Majok doesn't sign with any school during the early signing period. The mutual interest between UM and Majok seems to have waned.
December 6, 2007
Former UM shooting guard target Turner verbally commits to Oregon State.
December 20, 2007
Former Oklahoma point guard Bobby Maze verbally commits to Maryland. The Hutchinson (Kan.) Community College sophomore and Suitland native tells Scout.com that he looks forward to returning to Maryland.
"The opportunity to play back at home is, like, the best thing that could happen to me. It's a big deal to be able to stay around here and play in front of my family,"
March 8, 2008
Turner withdraws his commitment from Oregon State in the wake of Beavers head coach Jay John's firing.
March 26, 2008
Kim's coach at South Kent (Conn.) School, Owen Finberg, tells Recruiting Report that Kim is considering the possibility of reclassifying from an '09 player to an '08 prospect.
"He's considering the option of being at Maryland next year if that's possible to do," Finberg said. "It's kind of a long shot, but he's one of the players that's had the most trouble with the [coaching] transition [at South Kent]. Coach Chillious brought him in, and I think [Jin Soo] really kind of felt left hanging by the whole deal, even though he didn't express it that way. So he's looking at that option to really see what he can do."
April 16, 2008
"Tyree has worked hard to get himself in position to play at the Division I level," said head coach Gary Williams. "He is an outstanding shooter with great quickness and will be a great complement to the players already in our program."
April 24, 2008
With Evans in the fold, there appears to no longer be a spot on the Maryland roster for Maze. A source from Hutchinson (Kan.) Community College tells Recruiting Report that Maze is receiving interest from many schools, and he expects to receive his associate's degree and be fully qualified by the end of the summer.
April 28, 2008
Majok, who the Terps had stopped recruiting months before, commits to Connecticut.
May 5, 2008
SI.com takes a closer look at Evans' criminal history, and reveals that UM athletic director Debbie Yow was unaware of Evans' June 2007 stint in Richmond City Jail due to an August 2005 marijuana arrest.
Evans told SI.com that Maryland's basketball staff was aware of his time behind bars -- "They know all about my past, and as long as it wasn't a felony, it was OK," he said. But Maryland athletic director Debbie Yow, when reached last Friday, said that while Williams had worked through the Academic Committee of the University Athletics Council to secure Evans' admission, Yow had not been informed of Evans' incarceration. "I was aware of a misdemeanor [marijuana] charge -- that's it," she said.
May 7, 2008
Maze signs with Tennessee, choosing the Volunteers over offers from Cincinnati and Kentucky among others.
"The plane landed and I breathed in that Knoxville air," Maze said. "You see those seats in the arena and how high they go up, and all the sellout crowds, the Jumbotron screens everywhere, the practice facility. You have every tool here to be successful."
May 8, 2008
Turner signs with East Carolina. Turner had expressed interest in Maryland in April, but the Terps never seriously pursued the shooting guard.
May 23, 2008
Maryland announces that Evans has opted out of his letter of intent. Motlow State (Tenn.) Community College head coach Bobby Steinburg tells The Sun that the negative publicity surrounding Evans was a major factor in his decision to withdraw his application from consideration. The same article also states that Evans had not yet been accepted by the admissions office. An additional arrest is also unearthed in The Sun's story.
The previous media reports didn't mention a fourth case - marijuana possession and handgun charges lodged in Cecil County Circuit Court in November 2005. He received probation on the drug charge, and the handgun count wasn't pursued by prosecutors, county officials said. "That was a positive result for him because not everyone gets probation," said Lawrence Derx, his attorney.
June 3, 2008
Maryland grants Gilchrist a release to transfer to another school.
Anything I missed?
In summation ... crazy year. And it's not over. Mosley still needs to qualify academically, Kim could enroll early and join the '08 class, and there is suddenly a pressing need for another big man or two on UM's roster. Stay tuned.