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Maryland basketball grad transfer target Tariq Owens commits to Texas Tech

The Terps miss out on a priority big man.

NCAA Basketball: St. John at Providence Brian Fluharty-USA TODAY Sports

Maryland men’s basketball was a longtime favorite to land grad transfer center Tariq Owens, but the Terps ultimately missed out. The big man committed to Texas Tech on Monday, as first reported by ESPN’s Jeff Borzello.

The 6’11 center announced his intention to transfer in March, with Maryland quickly emerging as a favorite. Owens visited College Park at the end of March and was reportedly close to a commitment, but still visited the Red Raiders and eventually pledged to a team coming off an Elite 8 trip and in need of a big man.

Owens was a three-star prospect out of high school, playing at St. Vincent Pallotti in Laurel and residing in Odenton, Maryland. He saw limited time at Tennessee as a freshman, then transferred to St. John’s shortly after Chris Mullins was announced as the new head coach and sat a season. Owens stood out in 2017-18 on defense, averaging 2.8 blocks and 5.9 rebounds while also scoring 8.4 points in a limited offensive role.

The central reason for his intention to transfer was for that role to increase, and it looked like that chance would come at Maryland, especially with Justin Jackson and Michal Cekovsky leaving and Bruno Fernando currently in the NBA Draft running without an agent. If he leaves and no other big men commit, Maryland’s most traditional center for next season is Schnider Herard, who won’t be eligible until after the first semester.

Mark Turgeon and the staff are still serious contenders for another big man in Trey Porter, who was on campus Friday. The Terps also need reinforcements in the backcourt with Dion Wiley leaving as a graduate transfer. There’s still time to fill those gaps, but missing on Owens is certainly a setback.