The Maryland Terrapins got some bad news in an already rough week when their top three recruits for the 2011 season all asked to be released from their letters of intent. Longtime coach Gary Williams announced his retirement last week after 22 successful years at the University of Maryland.
A week after Williams' announcement, the university hired former Texas A&M head coach Mark Turgeon as Williams' replacement.
When a head coach retires In college basketball and football, recruits signed by the former coach often ask for releases in order to review their options, and this was the case at Maryland last week.
The three players, Nick Faust (Baltimore City College H.S. MD), Sterling Gibbs (Seton Hall Preparatory School NJ, brother of Pittsburgh Panthers player Ashton Gibbs), and Martin Breunig (St. John's Military Academy WI), were all highly-touted coming out of high school, with Faust rated 36th in the nation by ESPN's scouting program.
For the time being (all three are still considering recommitting to Maryland), the loss of these players depletes the basketball program, leaving them with only 8 scholarship players on the team.
This development almost guarantees that this season will be Maryland's second straight without a NCAA Tournament appearance. Turgeon has his work cut out for him, and it will prove difficult to find success at a big-name basketball school in a traditionally tough conference (the ACC) without these players.