Freshman of the year Destiny Slocum to transfer from Maryland

National freshman of the year Destiny Slocum will transfer from Maryland, a significant blow to a perennial women's basketball powerhouse that was already losing its top two players to graduation.

The dynamic point guard from Idaho was coach Brenda Frese's top recruit heading into this season, and she did not disappoint, averaging 11.5 points and 6 assists a game for a team that ranked in the top 5 for most of the season.


Freshman center Jenna Staiti and sophomore forward Kiah Gillespie, both reserves in 2016-2017, will also transfer.

"I truly enjoyed coaching Destiny and her energy she brought every day," Frese said in a statement. "I had many long conversations with her over the season and we spent a lot of time together. Our staff is proud of the commitment we put into Destiny's development and all the accomplishments she achieved this season from Big Ten Freshman of the Year to WBCA National Freshman of the Year.


"We appreciate Kiah's work over the last two seasons and Jenna's efforts this year. We wish all three of them nothing but success on and off the court as they move forward."

Slocum also offered a statement through Maryland but gave little indication why she's leaving.

"I'm grateful for my time at Maryland and the opportunity," she said. "I want to thank my teammates and coaches and all the fans for their support this season. I've put a lot of thought and prayer into this decision. I've talked with my family and Coach B a great deal and have decided to continue my college career elsewhere."

Frese has kept her program on top in the wake of previous transfers, including the departure of point guard Lexie Brown in 2015, after the Terps had made two consecutive Final Fours.

But Maryland's roster will be unusually devoid of star power heading into 2017-2018, given Slocum's transfer and the graduation of senior All-Americans Brionna Jones and Shatori Walker-Kimbrough.

Those three players combined to average 50.2 points a game for the 32-3 Terps. No one else averaged more than 9.7.

There's no obvious replacement for Slocum in Maryland's incoming recruiting class.

Redshirt junior Ieshia Small served as Slocum's primary back-up at point guard, and Maryland is also waiting to find out when Florida transfer Eleanna Christinaki, an SEC All-Freshman selection in 2015-2016, will be eligible to play next season. 

"It is always difficult to see young people leave your program, but after many years in coaching and life experiences, I have a much broader perspective on life and the challenges that come along the way," Frese said in her statement. "We're excited about the great depth and talent on our roster. We will continue to play at the Maryland standard we've set for our program."


Slocum brought an infectious style to College Park, throwing her stout frame around with abandon and exhorting teammates with fiery gestures. The look of disbelief on her face after she sunk a 70-foot buzzer beater in the second round of the NCAA tournament was a highlight of the Terps' season, which ended with a loss to Oregon in the Sweet Sixteen.

In a late-January interview, Slocum said she initially thought Maryland was too far away from her family's home in Meridian, Idaho. She had helped nurse her mother through breast cancer and had grown up with her father coaching her every day.

"It's busy all the time here," she said of College Park. "I feel like it never gets quiet."

But she was drawn by Frese's competitive ambition and by a desire to test herself against the best players in the country.

She said she felt at home.