By Josh Barr
Washington Post Staff Writer
Sunday, May 13, 2007
Second-team All-Met forward Augustus Gilchrist, who in November signed a letter-of-intent to play basketball for Virginia Tech, yesterday said he will not play for the Hokies next season, citing the April 16 campus shootings that left 33 dead.
Gilchrist said he is unlikely to ever play for the Hokies but has not requested a release from the letter-of-intent, which is binding on both the school and the player.
"I want to send my condolences to the families and the victims. It's a terrible situation that happened," Gilchrist said. "I'm not mentally prepared to go there for this [coming] year. I think the campus needs time to heal. The campus needs time to mourn the first year. I don't know if I'm prepared to do that next year.
"I'm not sure [of my plans] at this point because everything hasn't played out. My intention at first was to take a year and see how it plays out. But I don't think I want to go to Virginia Tech."
Gilchrist said his options include going to a prep school -- which seems likely if Virginia Tech does not grant a release from the letter-of-intent -- or going to another college.
"If they do let me out, then I'm not sure what college I would like to go to," he said.
Gilchrist, who is 6 feet 9, averaged 22.3 points and 10.3 rebounds this past season playing for Progressive Christian while being home-schooled. He then went on to earn most valuable player honors in the Capital Classic all-star game.
He said he informed Virginia Tech Coach Seth Greenberg of his decision shortly after the shootings. Attempts to reach Greenberg were unsuccessful.
A team spokesman on Friday said he was unaware of a change in Gilchrist's status.
"They told me they respected my decision and would like me to come this year, but they respect my decision," Gilchrist said.