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Maryland’s Varun Ram returning for another year

Maryland’s Varun Ram (right). (Tony Dejak/AP)

Maryland guard Varun Ram will return to the team for the 2015-2016 season, an athletic department official said on Friday afternoon.

Ram, a fan favorite who ascended to hero status when he made a game-winning defensive stop against Valparaiso in the NCAA tournament in March, tweeted the news on Friday.

Known as a defensive specialist and a tenacious practice player, the 5-foot-9, 155-pound Ram will graduate in May with degrees in neurobiology and physiology. He still has a year of eligibility remaining – Ram was forced to sit out a season due to NCAA transfer rules after transferring to Maryland from Division III Trinity College (Conn.) – and he will pursue a masters degree at Maryland next fall.

A team spokesman said Friday that Ram’s scholarship status will be determined later this summer. Aside from his daily work pestering star point guard Melo Trimble in practice, Ram made key contributions at crucial points last year.

He played in 21 games, never cracking double-digits in minutes – his season-high was nine minutes played against VMI and North Carolina Central – but he sparked the team with important defensive plays all season. The most important came in the final seconds against Valparaiso in Maryland’s first NCAA tournament game in five years, when he came up with a defensive strip to preserve a 65-62 win.