On Thursday, May 23, just 38 days after committing to the Terps, sharp shooting off-guard Tyree Evans requested an official release from his Letter of Intent to play in College Park.
Surprised? I’m not.
Some background on Evans, he originally committed to Maryland with some baggage, to say the least. The 23-year-old guard from Richmond had been charged with statutory rape as well as incident assault. After playing four years at George Wythe HS in Richmond in which Evans became the #3 scorer in VA history (behind Allen Iverson and Moses Malone), the guard played his 2004-05 season at Winchendon Prep in Massachusetts due to not being able to obtain the minimum GPA and SAT score needed to play in the NCAA. Evans never ended up playing a game in Division 1, bouncing between various junior colleges from 2005 to 2008. After finally obtaining the scores needed to enter NCAA play, Evans chose Maryland over several other contenders with the most notable being Arizona. Terps assistant Chuck Drisell had been recruiting Evans for more than 2 years.
At first, most in the media praised Coach Williams for getting a dynamic wing player with the ability to put up big scoring numbers. Many had Evans penciled in as the Terps’ starting off-guard for the 2008-09 season. However, Evans’ past caught up with him as the negative press surrounding his legal and academic problems swirled throughout Baltimore and DC. He had achieved the minimum NCAA scores, but some wondered whether he had reached Maryland’s significantly higher minimum level. Angered and embarrassed by the never-ending negative press, Tyree Evans asked to be released from his Letter of Intent.
Now I know what you’re thinking, why is Gary Williams recruiting a kid with legal and academic troubles who has played 8 years of high school, prep school, and junior college basketball? Why should we be upset that there was negative publicity considering his serious charges of rape and assault?
Well, Maryland basketball should have never needed to recruit Tyree Evans.
Evans was basically given a scholarship because of the academic troubles surrounding former Terps commit Bobby Maze. Maze, a point guard from Hutchinson Junior College in Kansas, chose Maryland over Kansas State and Cincinnati among others. However, this being the reoccurring phrase of Maryland’s 2008 recruiting season, Maze was still on the border academically, and Maryland dumped him for Evans, a much safer bet academically. Maze has since recommitted to Tennessee, a team that Maryland may face next year in the Old Spice Classic in Orlando.
Maze’s junior college teammate, Ken Bowman, also at one point committed to Maryland, but he had academic trouble and was also released from his Letter of Intent.
Why did Maryland have to pursue Bowman, another academic question mark?
They had to go after him because of the sudden commitments and releases of two other big men, Terrence Jennings of Mt. Zion School in Durham and Ater Majok, a well-traveled Sudanese big man who had played ball in Australia and at the Heat Basketball Academy in Virginia. Jennings has since recommitted to Louisville, and Majok has chosen the UConn Huskies. Both of those commitments seem, um, interesting especially when you take into account the players, coaches, and timing. You can figure the rest out for yourself.
Feeling the need for a post prescience after these departures, Maryland signed Virginia Tech transfer Gus Gilchrist. Due to ACC transfer regulations, Gilchrist is eligible to play at the end of the 1st Semester, sometime in late December. Gus is a huge forward-center at 6-foot-10, 235 pounds. After a breakout season at Progressive Christian Academy, Gilchrist is rated a 4-star prospect by recruiting website, scout.com.
Finally, and I promise this is the last guy (at least for now), Sean Mosley, a 6-foot-3 guard from St. Frances Academy in Baltimore committed to Maryland over Syracuse, Florida State, Virginia Tech, Clemson, and several others. Mosley, the #41 overall prospect and the #8 shooting guard of the class of 2008 as ranked by scout.com, should be able to add instant offense as soon as he steps on the court.
The problem is, some wonder whether Mosley will ever reach College Park. Mosley has taken the SAT numerous times but still is about 30 points short of Maryland’s standards. It looks like it will come down to the very end whether or not Sean will be a Terp in 2008 or be forced to go to prep school.
Wow, let’s take a deep breath and regroup after all that.
For those of you playing at home, that makes 7 guys that at one point have committed to be Terps for the 2008-09 season. At this point, only Gilchrist will definitely suit up next year, but he’ll have to wait. The wild card is still Mosley. However, we are sure that 5 recruits who once committed to Maryland will play elsewhere.
That’s not normal, that’s ridiculously bad.
Maryland’s entire 2008 recruiting season, one that is far from over, sheds light on the problems that this team has had. Staring at 4 NIT bids in 5 years, Gary Williams was forced to take changes on huge academic risks. Up to this point, none of these risks have paid off.
That’s why Tyree Evans’ decommitment didn’t surprise me in the least. Gary needed to go all out in recruiting to avoid the NIT.
But if Sean Mosley is not qualified to play, expect another March without the Terps in the big dance.