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Palsson leaving Terps to play professionally

Maryland forward Haukur Palsson is leaving school to pursue a basketball career professionally in Europe – a blow to a program with a depleted frontcourt.

Palsson, who is from Iceland, "wants to be closer to home and to be able to start providing for his family," head coach Mark Turgeon said in a prepared statement Monday night.

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Palsson, 6-foot-6 and 190 pounds, averaged 2.8 points per game and 2.1 rebounds per game in his freshman season. But he possessed inside toughness and could step back and hit the 3.

A popular player with fans, his inside presence could have been valuable for a team that is losing center Jordan Williams to the NBA after his sophomore season.

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Palsson is close with his family. His older brother, Magnus, is a former defensive player of the year in his Icelandic league. Another older brother also played. Both had been exchange students in the United States, and Palsson -- who had long hoped to play professionally -- followed them to this country.

A few points:

--He's a good kid. He has a certain toughness and maturity about him. That toughness, plus his touch from long-range, would have made him a good college player.

--I'm personally disappointed because I had finally mastered his first name. It's pronounced "hey-ya-kuss" as if it has an extra syllable and ends in "s." I had planned to showcase my sophistication by saying his name correctly and being condescendng towards those who got it wrong.

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