After Jalen Smith announced his intention to enter the NBA Draft, and reserve forwards Joshua Tomaic and Ricky Lindo transferred from the program, Maryland needed frontcourt help.
The Terrapins now have it, some six months after Jairus Hamilton transferred to College Park from Boston College. The junior received an NCAA waiver, making him immediately eligible for the 2020-21 campaign, the program announced Tuesday night.
“Nothing made me happier than to deliver this news to Jairus and our team at practice today,” Maryland coach Mark Turgeon said in a statement. “Jairus remained positive throughout the entire process and we are thrilled for him. Damon Evans and our entire administration made Jairus a high priority from the outset and Cody Gambler and our compliance office were extremely diligent in their work throughout.
“I cannot say enough about their support, as well as the support of Jairus’ family for seeing this through. And finally, I am appreciative of the NCAA for its help and understanding over the duration of the waiver process.”
Hamilton played in 24 games for the Eagles last season, averaging 9.5 points and 4.3 rebounds per contest. He built on a freshman season in which he appeared 30 times, posting 5.6 points per game to go along with four boards.
The 6-foot-8 forward could help plug some gaps in Maryland’s roster. Smith, who made the All-Big Ten first team last season, was a force throughout the year for the Terrapins. He started all 31 contests and led the Big Ten with 21 double-doubles, and now some NBA sites have him as a projected first-round pick.
With the loss of Tomaic and Lindo — neither of whom made significant impacts before transferring to San Diego State and George Washington, respectively — bodies were thin in the frontcourt. Hamilton’s eligibility is a boost, joining Chol Marial, Donta Scott and Galin Smith as likely contributors down low.
Still, it remains to be seen how Maryland will cope with the departures of Smith and guard Anthony Cowan — two ever-present players on the court.
“I am so appreciative of the NCAA and Maryland for their efforts in granting me this opportunity,” Hamilton said in a statement. “I am proud to be a Maryland Terrapin and am looking forward to finishing my career with my teammates in College Park.”
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