According to the Terrapins, Howard will return home to his native California to be closer to his sick grandmother. He spent three seasons in College Park, including an up-and-down junior year that included a one-game suspension, a stripped captaincy and a late resurgence as Maryland made its deep NIT postseason run.
“I want to thank Coach [Mark] Turgeon for allowing me to pursue an opportunity to complete my final season of college basketball at a university closer to home,” Howard said in a press release. “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 finished the 2012-13 season averaging 3.3 points, 3.6 assists and 2.4 rebounds in 22.8 minutes per game. He had developed into Turgeon’s go-to perimeter defender, drawing assignments against an opponent’s biggest weapon.
“We wish Pe’Shon the best and thank him for his contributions as a student-athlete at the University of Maryland,” Turgeon said. “We are disappointed that he’s 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 this transition.”
His departure leaves the Terps in somewhat of a lurch at point guard. Both Roddy Peters (shoulder surgery), a Class of 2013 signee from Suitland High School, and Seth Allen (fractured hand) are recovering from injuries, but Maryland is expected to enter the summer with those two as its primary point guard options. Nick Faust and Dez Wells both played there this season, but are more valuable along the wing.
According to an individual with knowledge of the situation, Allen saw another hand specialist on Monday, will soon discuss his surgical options with his family and is expected to make a decision within the week. In late March, Turgeon said Allen’s recovery period would be 6-8 weeks without surgery and 10-12 weeks with it.
The Terps have already begun exploring all available options for some offseason additions. This includes a Logan Aronhalt-type graduate transfer who would be eligible immediately or even an unsigned Class of 2013 player.
With Howard gone — almost certainly to a Southern California school near his grandmother’s home — the Terps currently have 10 players on scholarship. The full list is below.
Bear in mind, this includes Alex Len, who has until April 28 to notify the NBA should he decide to declare for the draft, and both John Auslander (the team’s only rising senior) and Conner Lipinski, neither of whom have their scholarships on lock.
If Len leaves and Turgeon removes both Auslander and Lipinski’s scholarships, the Terps could have as many as four open spots.
PROJECTED SCHOLARSHIPS 2013-14
Seniors: John Auslander*
Juniors: Evan Smotrycz, Alex Len**, Nick Faust, Dez Wells
Sophomores: Charles Mitchell, Shaq Cleare, Jake Layman, Seth Allen, Conner Lipinski*
Freshmen: Roddy Peters, Damonte Dodd
* — Scholarship spot is flexible
**–Expected to make NBA decision soon.