Destiny Slocum will be transferring from the Maryland women’s basketball team, the school announced on Tuesday, leaving the Terrapins without their starting point guard who arrived as the centerpiece of Coach Brenda Frese’s top-ranked recruiting class a year ago.
The news comes days after Slocum was at the Final Four in Dallas to receive the national freshman of the year award from the Women’s Basketball Coaches Association. She also was named Big Ten freshman of the year, setting a Maryland freshman record for assists (204).
“I’m grateful for my time at Maryland and the opportunity,” Slocum, rated the No. 3 point guard in the country coming out of high school, said in a statement. “I want to thank my teammates and coaches and all the fans for their support this season. I’ve put a lot of thought and prayer into this decision. I’ve talked with my family and Coach B a great deal and have decided to continue my college career elsewhere.”
A person familiar with the situation indicated Slocum, who averaged 11.5 points, the third most for the Terrapins (32-3), and six assists, had been homesick at points during the season. Slocum is from Meridian, Idaho, and it was not immediately clear where she intends to transfer. She must sit out next season before playing again, per NCAA transfer rules.
Slocum becomes the second high-profile point guard in three seasons to transfer from Maryland. In 2015, Lexie Brown announced she would be leaving College Park, eventually winding up at Duke, the Terrapins’ most heated rival from when they were a member of the Atlantic Coast Conference.
Also transferring this season are sophomore forward Kiah Gillespie and center Jenna Staiti, another freshman. Gillespie was as McDonald’s all-American who played sparingly this season. Staiti was among the last players off the bench, averaging less than six minutes per game.
“We would like to thank these three student-athletes for their hard work during their careers at Maryland,” Frese said in a statement. “We appreciate their contributions to our program. I truly enjoyed coaching Destiny and her energy she brought every day. I had many long conversations with her over the season, and we spent a lot of time together.
“Our staff is proud of the commitment we put into Destiny’s development and all the accomplishments she achieved this season.”
Slocum’s departure means Maryland will have to replace three starters next season, although the Terrapins do still have four McDonald’s all-Americans on the roster. Maryland’s backup point guards this past season were redshirt junior Ieshia Small, a transfer from Baylor, and freshman Sarah Myers.
Graduating in May are seniors Brionna Jones and Shatori Walker-Kimbrough, two of the most accomplished players in program history, who finished tied for the single-season school record for points (697).
Jones was a first-team all-American after averaging 19.9 points and 10.9 rebounds. The three-time first-team all-conference selection was named most outstanding player in the Big Ten tournament after scoring 27 points with 12 rebounds in the championship game, helping the Terrapins win the title for the third consecutive season.
Walker-Kimbrough, last season’s most outstanding player in the Big Ten tournament, also is a three-time first-team all-Big Ten selection and ended her career as one of five players to reach 2,000 points at Maryland.
Jones owns the Maryland single-game scoring record with 42 points, matching Marissa Coleman. Walker-Kimbrough, with 41 points last season, has the second-most points in a game in program history.
Both players are projected first-round picks in next week’s WNBA draft.
The Terrapins, seeded third in the NCAA tournament, ended their season with a 77-63 loss to No. 10 seed Oregon in the round of 16 in Bridgeport, Conn. It was Maryland’s third appearance in the regional semifinals in four seasons, including consecutive Final Four berths in 2014 and 2015.
“It is always difficult to see young people leave your program, but after many years in coaching and life experiences, I have a much broader perspective on life and the challenges that come along the way,” Frese said. “We’re excited about the great depth and talent on our roster. We will continue to play at the Maryland standard we’ve set for our program.”