COLLEGE PARK -- Less than two weeks after junior-college transfer Tyree Evans asked for his release, the University of Maryland granted another potential college basketball star a similar request yesterday.
Gus Gilchrist, a talented 6-foot-9, 235-pound forward who, like Evans, was expected to play a major role next season, asked for his release so he could possibly play immediately at another school outside the Atlantic Coast Conference. Because of ACC rules, Gilchrist had to sit out the first semester of games because he had initially signed to play at Virginia Tech.
"Gus has asked for a release to explore other options which may allow him to play more games at another university outside the ACC, pending an NCAA waiver," Maryland coach Gary Williams said in a prepared statement released by the university.
In the same release, Gilchrist said: "I would like to thank Coach Williams and the basketball staff at Maryland for all their support in attempts in appealing this process. I wish them the best in the future."
According to Williams, Maryland appealed twice to the ACC and was denied on both occasions. Gilchrist was not available for further comment.
Gilchrist was expected to take the frontcourt scoring role vacated by James Gist, who graduated. Coupled with the loss of another graduating senior, Bambale Osby, the Terps are left with rising sophomores Braxton Dupree and Jerome Burney, as well as lone rising senior Dave Neal, as their only experienced inside players.
While Burney came out at the end of his redshirt freshman season as a strong rebounder and defensive presence, Dupree, a former star at Calvert Hall, was a major disappointment as he struggled with his confidence and weight. It is not known where Gilchrist will try to play, but according to Kathleen Worthington, the school's senior associate athletic director, he will have to petition the NCAA to get the normal one-year waiting period waived because he would be considered a transfer.
"It's a difficult one, but you never know," Worthington said when asked about the likelihood of Gilchrist getting the waiver. "First he has to transfer to another institution, then the institution can put forward that waiver. The NCAA says four to six weeks on reviewing waivers."
Gilchrist, the Most Valuable Player at the Capital Classic All-Star Game in 2007, would likely be able to play immediately at a junior college, a Division II school or an NAIA school.
Worthington said a report on a Baltimore radio station earlier in the day that Gilchrist was going to be ruled academically ineligible was untrue.
"He was totally eligible. He had another semester to sit out. He would have been eligible the day after final exams in December, and that was basically because of the ACC interconference [transfer] rule, " Worthington said.
Gilchrist, who grew up in Temple Hills and attended Progressive Christian Academy, first signed with Virginia Tech out of high school. But last spring, Gilchrist asked for his release from his letter of intent.
The loss of Gilchrist leaves a giant hole in the frontcourt for the Terps, who have only nine players on scholarship and a possible 10th player, top recruit Sean Mosley, still waiting to be accepted by the admissions office. The decision on Mosley is expected to come down sometime this summer.
"We're still recruiting," Williams said last night. "We're going to be good."