Ill grandmother plays role in decision to leave Terps

The departure of Maryland guard Pe'Shon Howard, who was granted his request to transfer by the school Monday, leaves the Terrapins without their starting point guard, without a senior rotation player and with no one left from the Gary Williams regime.

"I want to thank coach [Mark] Turgeon for allowing me to pursue the opportunity to complete my final season of college basketball at a university closer to home," Howard said in a school statement. "It was a very difficult decision because I really enjoyed my three years as a student-athlete at Maryland, but my grandmother is sick, and I feel it is best that I be closer to my family."

Howard's career in College Park was star-crossed and stormy. He missed the first month of his sophomore year with a foot injury and the final month with a torn ACL. In the offseason, he was arrested outside a College Park restaurant for disorderly conduct.

After an offseason of hard work and rehab on his surgically repaired knee, Howard entered this season in tremendous physical condition and as the starting point guard. In the first two months of the season, he was among the nation's leaders in assist to turnover ratio, but in the Terps' first three ACC games, he missed all 13 of his shots and his confidence wavered, according to Turgeon.

Howard was benched and later missed a road trip to Florida State with the flu and a win over Duke when he was suspended for an unspecified violation. After his reinstatement, Howard played well and regained his starting job. In seven games in the ACC tournament and NIT, Howard averaged 30.0 minutes, 4.3 points, 3.1 assists and 1.4 turnovers, drawing praise from Turgeon for his work as a defensive stopper.

Howard is the fifth and final player from Williams' final recruiting class to leave Maryland. Haukur Palsson and Terrell Stoglin are playing professionally in Europe, while Ashton Pankey (Manhattan) and Mychal Parker (NAIA's Georgetown College) transferred after one unhappy season under Turgeon.

With Howard gone, 6-foot-1 sophomore Seth Allen and 6-4 incoming freshman Roddy Peters likely will compete for the point guard job. Junior Nick Faust also has played the position.