Maryland freshman phenom Destiny Slocum will transfer away from the program, according to SB Nation’s Swish Appeal and confirmed by the team.
Sophomore forward Kiah Gillespie and freshman forward Jenna Staiti will also be leaving the program.
The Washington Post’s Gene Wang called it “homesickness for some, lack of playing time for others.” Staiti said in the team’s press release that being closer to home was important to her and her family.
As a freshman, Slocum was instrumental in the Terps winning their third consecutive Big Ten championship. She averaged 11.5 points, 6.0 assists and 3.0 rebounds per game this season while shooting 40.5 percent from the field and 37.4 percent from long range.
“I’m grateful for my time at Maryland and the opportunity,” Slocum said in a team press release. “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.”
The 5-foot-7 Idaho native was awarded Big Ten Freshman of the Year honors and was named National Freshman of the Year by the Women’s Basketball Coaches Association.
“I truly enjoyed coaching Destiny and her energy she brought every day,” head coach Brenda Frese said in the press release. “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 later tweeted a message to her fans and the Maryland community, in which she showed her appreciation to Maryland and hinted at her reason for leaving.
“Unfortunately, Maryland just wasn’t the right fit for me,” she wrote.
— Destiny Slocum (@DestinySlocum24) April 4, 2017
Maryland also lost another high school all-american in Gillespie, who is originally from Connecticut. She averaged 4.1 points and 2.8 rebounds per game off the bench this season while shooting 46.4 percent from the field.
Just as Slocum did, Gillespie took to Twitter to thank Maryland.
It's Been a Pleasure 🌹🙏🏽 pic.twitter.com/xH6c1rY38v
— Kiah Gillespie (@Kiah15Gillespie) April 4, 2017
The third transfer is Staiti, who played the least out of the three this season, but was waiting in the wings behind Brionna Jones. The 6-foot-6 center from Georgia did average 3.0 points and 2.0 rebounds per game while shooting 50.7 percent from the floor in limited playing.
She also issued a message on her own Twitter account.
— Jenna Staiti (@jenna_staiti) April 4, 2017
The transfers do, however, leave three open scholarship spots for Frese this upcoming season. Maryland has no recruits coming in from the high school Class of 2017, so Frese could look for unsigned players in that class or dip into the transfer market to fill the holes left by the three transfers.
Even if the coaching staff is not able to bring in replacements right away, the Terps will still have moderate depth going into the 2017-18 season. Junior Ieshia Small and freshman Sarah Myers will be the point guard options for the Terps, and both were able to pick up key minutes this season.
At the other guard positions, Florida transfer Eleanna Christinaki will be play a big role next season. She averaged 17.6 points per game in nine games for the Gators this season before leaving the team in December, and could be an immediate starter for the Terps.
Despite returning four of the six freshmen that made up the top-ranked recruiting class in the country, Maryland will now have to find a way to recover after losing its three leading scorers from last season. The Terps will also lose Brionna Jones and Shatori Walker-Kimbrough to graduation and are projected to be first-round picks in the WNBA Draft.
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