Former Terps center Shaquille Cleare transferring to Texas

Former Maryland center Shaquille Cleare has signed his paperwork to transfer to the University of Texas, according to a post on his Facebook page.

“First of all I would like to thank god for opening another door for me and giving me another opportunity to fulfill my dream at another division 1 institution. Secondly I would like to thank my family and friends for all the hard work they’ve put in with me as well as all the prayers they’ve sent up above for me,” Cleare wrote in the caption of a photo showing him making the move official.

“Last but not least I would like to thank my coaches, my teammates/ brothers and terpnation for all the support here at Maryland, it has been a bumpy but an exciting 2 Years here at Maryland, I ve had a blast here and the memories will linger in my mind. Thank you Maryland for an opportunity to be educated here and to represent this school on the highest stage possible. Most people my disagree with my decision and might even dislike me, but life goes on and it doesn’t stop here. Thanks again. Love you all.”

After two underwhelming seasons with the Terrapins, Cleare explained his decision to transfer in a lengthy interview earlier this month. The hype associated with being a top-40 recruit had followed him to College Park, where his minutes fluctuated for Coach Mark Turgeon and he rarely produced at the level expected of someone ranked that high. Cleare scored 3.4 points and grabbed 2.6 rebounds in two year. He was praised by the coaching staff for his hard work in the gym but endured a constant battle to transfer that into games.

“I feel like I’m disappointing a lot of fans,” Cleare said on April 9, a day after his decision to transfer was announced. “That’s all on me. I’m going to take the blame. I’m mature enough to shoulder that burden. Some people are happy. Some people are sad. Even though they’ll hate on me, I want to thank them.”

With the Longhorns, Cleare finds perhaps a quieter situation, where his recruiting ranking won’t shadow every move he makes. Cleare took his official visit to Texas last weekend. A native Bahamian, he played his high school years in Houston, where Turgeon initially began recruiting the big-bodied center in ninth grade. Last season, Texas went 24-11 and reached the second round of the NCAA tournament, eventually losing there to Michigan despite having zero seniors on the roster. Cleare will sit out a season and become a redshirt junior in 2015-16. He did not respond to a text message and telephone call seeking further comment.

Nick Faust and Roddy Peters, the other two former Terps who left alongside Cleare, still have yet to announce their transfer decisions. Calls to the families of both have not been returned.

Alex Prewitt covers the Washington Capitals. Follow him on Twitter @alex_prewitt or email him at alex.prewitt@washpost.com.
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