Redshirt freshman Ashton Pankey is leaving the program, becoming the third defection this offseason after guard Terrell Stoglin and wing Mychal Parker.
The decision came out of personal reasons, according to the University's press release:
"My mom is the rock in my life and I promised her I would take care of
her like she did for me. Therefore, I am choosing to put
my family first and look for a school closer to home," he said.
The Bronx, New York native missed almost his entire freshman season with a stress fracture in his leg. He redshirted and appeared in 32 of the Terps' 33 games last season, averaging 4.7 points and 4.9 rebounds in 20 minutes per game.
He was expected to challenge for a starter's spot next year, but would have likely ended up one of the first players off the bench. And next year's minutes may have very well played a decision in the 6-foot-9, 220-pound forward's choice to transfer.
"Ashton was raised in a close-knit home. He and his mother are very
close. ... It was great to have Ashton as a part of our program. ... He
has a lot of potential and we wish him success moving forward," head
coach Mark Turgeon said in the release.
Moving back closer to home means he may end up requesting a hardship waiver, meaning he could play immediately without having to sit out the NCAA's mandated one year. Fordham head coach Tom Pecora recruited Pankey when he was coaching at Hofstra, and could be the frontrunner to land him. Other possible landing spots near New York City include St. Bonaventure, Wagner, St. Francis (NY) and Iona.
"I thank my coach, assistant coaches and teammates, as well as the continued devotion of Maryland fans," Pankey said.
The move paves the way for highly touted incoming freshmen Shaq Cleare and Charles Mitchell to join senior James Padgett and sophomore Alex Len as a fairly clear-cut rotation of big men.
Pankey's transfer marks the fourth departure from the five-man class of 2010. Haukur Palsson left after his freshman season, and Pankey, Parker and Stoglin have left since this past season ended.
Also amazing is that almost exactly one year after former head coach Gary Williams retired, just two players remain from that roster: rising junior Pe'Shon Howard and Padgett, a rising senior.