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Pe’Shon Howard departs Maryland

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Sports,Campus Confidential,Kevin Dunleavy

After a star-crossed and stormy three seasons in College Park, Maryland junior Pe’Shon Howard has received permission from the school to transfer, coach Mark Turgeon announced on Monday. The 6-3 guard averaged 3.3 points and 3.6 assists, starting 24 of the 36 games he played.

“I want to thank coach Turgeon for allowing me to pursue the opportunity to complete my final season of college basketball at a university closer to home,” Howard said in a school statement. “It was a very difficult decision because I really enjoyed my three years as a student-athlete at Maryland, but my grandmother is sick and I feel it is best that I be closer to my family. I love my teammates and wish them the very best and appreciate all of the support and guidance that I received from my coaches.”

Howard began this year and finished it as the starting point guard, but lost his job in January when he slumped badly. He missed a road trip to Florida State with the flu in January and was suspended for an unspecified violation of team rules in February when Maryland beat Duke at home.

After his reinstatement, Howard played well, regaining his starting job. In seven games in the ACC tournament and NIT, Howard averaged 30.0 minutes, 4.3 points, 3.1 assists, and 1.4 turnovers, drawing praise from Turgeon for his work as a defensive stopper.

After a promising first year in College Park under coach Gary Williams, Howard missed the first month of the 2011-12 season with a foot injury and the last month with a torn ACL. In the off-season he was arrested for disorderly conduct outside a College Park restaurant.

This year in the preseason, he emerged healthy and in the best shape of his career. Howard got off to a strong start as he was among the nation’s leaders in assist/turnover ratio. But in Maryland’s first three ACC games, he missed all 13 of his shots, and his confidence wavered according to Turgeon.

“We wish Pe’Shon the best and thank him for his contributions as a student athlete at the University of Maryland,” Turgeon said in a statement. “We are disappointed that he is leaving, but Pe’Shon shared with me that his grandmother is ill in California and that he would like to finish his final season of eligibility playing closer to home. We understand this is best for Pe’Shon and his family and will support him through his transition.”

Howard was the last player who remained from the Williams regime and would have been the Terps’ lone senior next year. Two who entered with him as freshmen — Terrell Stoglin and Haukur Palsson — are playing professionally in Europe. Two others who arrived in the same class — Mychal Parker (Georgetown (Ky.) and Ashton Pankey (Manhattan) — have transferred.

As for next year, forward James Padgett and guard Logan Aronhalt have exhausted their eligibility. Center Alex Len is expected to declare for the June NBA draft, leaving six of the Terrapins’ 10 rotation players returning. They will be joined by 6-9 Evan Smotrycz, a transfer from Michigan who sat out this season, 6-9 Damonte Dodd, who signed last year but spent a prep season at Massanutten Military Academy, and 6-4 Roddy Peters, an incoming freshman from Suitland High.

Peters is likely to get the first crack at replacing Howard as the starting point guard. Holdovers Seth Allen and Nick Faust also have experience at the position.

Kdunleavy@washingtonexaminer.com

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