A moment of reckoning arrived for the Maryland men’s basketball team Tuesday evening, as three scholarship players requested and received their release to transfer from the program. Center Shaquille Cleare, guard Nick Faust and point guard Roddy Peters all met with Coach Mark Turgeon, who granted them permission to leave. The paperwork for their transfers is currently being processed, although it has been approved.
“I really enjoyed coaching Nick, Shaq and Roddy,” Turgeon said in a team-issued statement. “It is unfortunate that they will no longer be a part of the program. I wish them the very best in their future endeavors.”
According to Faust’s father, Anthony, the rising senior guard and Baltimore native has been mulling leaving his hometown school since around Christmas break, having grown frustrated with his fluctuating role on the team. This season, Faust moved into a sixth-man role, where he became an energetic defensive presence off the bench and scored a career-high 20 points against Wake Forest. The former four-star recruit later moved back into the starting lineup for the final four games of the season, but committed seven turnovers in Maryland’s season finale against Florida State in the ACC tournament. Faust finished the season, and ultimately his Terps career, ranked first on the team with 1.2 steals per game and averaged 9.4 points.
“I felt like Nick and I have gone through all this together, but I want Nick to be happy and we just decided, it gives him a chance to explore other opportunities,” Turgeon said via telephone on Tuesday. “I enjoyed coaching Nick.”
Faust will not graduate until the winter semester, so he intends to sit out a season wherever he transfers, Anthony Faust said, and finish his college career in 2015-16. He received his release at 6:15 p.m. on Tuesday.
“Nick is going to take his own phone calls,” Anthony Faust said. “Nick’s going to make his own decisions as far as where he’s going to go. I think Maryland is a great school. It was a great opportunity, just not the right fit.
“Nick is used to being free and always in control. I don’t think he felt he was used to his full potential.”
Ranked as a four-star prospect from nearby Suitland High School, Peters enrolled at Maryland with immense expectations as fans clamored for the wiry combo guard to become the starting floor general, which happened for a brief stretch during non-conference play. But he struggled to adapt to the college game on both ends and saw his playing time shortened once Seth Allen returned from a broken foot. Peters averaged 15.1 minutes, 4.1 points and 2.1 assists. The former Washington Post All-Met was recruited by UCLA, Kansas, Xavier and Georgetown out of high school, according to ESPN, which rated him the state’s best player and the nation’s 52nd best recruit for the class of 2013.
“I think he has tremendous potential to be a heck of a player,” Turgeon said. “I’m sorry I’m not going to be able to work with him more.”
Cleare experienced a similar inability to match expectations with the Terps. Ranked the eighth-best center in the class of 2012, Turgeon’s inaugural recruiting class at Maryland, the Bahamian native averaged only 3.4 points per game over two seasons. He demonstrated a strong work ethic and immense strength, as well as a charisma with the media, but despite starting well into ACC play only logged 13.8 minutes per game this season and scored in double figures once.
“I love Shaq,’ Turgeon said. “I’ve known Shaq since he was a freshman in high school. Really going to miss him. Enjoyed coaching him and he gave me everything he had. I’m just sad it’s not going to work out.”
Text messages to Cleare and Peters’s mother, Jamena, went unreturned. The departures clears up a once-muddled roster situation, though leaves the Terps with only six returning scholarship players, none of whom were around for Turgeon’s first season with the program. The current breakdown looks as follows: