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Basketball Scholarship Situation

I'm sure a few people are wondering how Maryland is recruiting Lance Stephenson (and Terrell Vinson, and some JUCOs) if there are no scholarships left (I addressed this a long time ago, but some of the newer readers haven't seen it). In case you don't know, here's the situation: Maryland currently has 13 players on scholarship. When Gilchrist transferred out, there were 12. The extra was given to Pearman for one year, with the understanding he'd give it up after this year. Pearman gives up his scholly to Williams, Neal gives up his to Padgett (or Pearman to Williams, Neal to Padgett). Here's a handy graphic, plus a few years:


Yes, Maryland appears to be out of scholarships for the 2009 season. Don't worry: it's a near guarantee that someone will transfer out, or in some other way vacate a scholarship. It seems that the coaches aren't just pursuing Stephenson - they've been on Vinson (though lightly) and some JUCOs, just in case Stephenson doesn't turn out. Generally, players will let coaches know very early in the process so they can grab a replacement. If they're still recruiting, that's a damn good indicator that someone is transferring.

The candidates:

Cliff Tucker: Cliff was stuck on the end of the bench earlier in the year, even getting shut out some games. A lot of people assumed he'd transfer for PT, and a lot of rumors were swirling on the same subject, but he started to get more burn in ACC games. After a great game against UNC, it seemed he'd stay. But before long, he ended up on the end of the bench again. If those few games were promising enough for him, he'll stay. If not, and it might not, I wouldn't be surprised to see him transfer.

Braxton Dupree: Probably the choice of most Terp fans (it's mine). Odds are, he won't get much PT at Maryland in the future unless he significantly improves. He could transfer to UMBC and be a starter right away. Unfortunately, it doesn't seem like he'll go anywhere. The hunger just isn't there, from what I've heard (well, at least not metaphorically). If it was, he might've lost some weight by now.

Jerome Burney: Jerome wouldn't transfer, but his scholly could still open up. He's had injury problems since he's been on campus, and even though he's showed promise, he hasn't been able to get on the floor consistently. He could get an early graduation if he wanted to, and he may: he could get his degree and move on with his life. I don't know if he'd want to do that, but staying with basketball could just mess up his legs more. I wouldn't blame him if he decided to.

Jin Soo Kim/Steve Goins: Kim showed some serious potential early in the year. He's got a lot of talent, but needs to get bigger and acclimated to the ACC game. He got minimal playing time, so he could look for a place where he could play more. Goins came in as a project, but he's still 6-9 on a team with a 6-6 center. I'm sure he expected more than a few minutes of playing time. I don't expect either to transfer, but they're possibilities.

There's a great chance at least one of those five will end up someone other than Maryland next year. We'll have to wait awhile for the transfer to be publicly announced, but the coaches probably already know. In the meantime, it is completely legal and possible for Maryland to recruit players for the 2009 season, and those players can verbally commit without a scholarship available.

Also, Gary could - in theory - kick someone out of a 'ship. He could just say to Brax "Sorry, no more scholarship for you" and kick him off the team, technically. Just know that very few coaches would do that. I'd consider it low for guys like Jim Calhoun, so don't expect Gary to do that.

In case you're wondering, Kansas is actually already two scholarships over for 2009, but that hasn't slowed them in recruiting Stevenson.