As freshman point guard Destiny Slocum and the Maryland women’s basketball team were getting ready to face Oregon in the Sweet 16, the Slocum family had plans to gather at her paternal grandfather’s house in Nampa more than 2,500 miles away to watch the game on TV.
Throughout her basketball career, the support of her family has been a constant for Slocum.
Her dad, Jon, was an assistant coach for her high school team, and mom, Christina, and Slocum’s four siblings were always in the stands.
There’s no doubt the distance has worn on the Idaho native, although she showed no signs of it in her debut season with the Terps. She was named the Women’s Basketball Coaches Association and Big Ten freshman of the year, setting a Maryland freshman record for assists with 204.
On Tuesday, Slocum was granted a release from Maryland. She will have to sit out her first year at a new school, per NCAA transfer rules, but has three more years of eligibility remaining because she can use her redshirt season.
“She is super homesick,” Christina Slocum told the Idaho Statesman on March 21.
Slocum originally committed to Washington in September 2014 from a final four that included Duke, UCLA and Oregon. She reopened her recruiting in April 2015 before eventually settling on Maryland.
A source close to Slocum said Tuesday that “any program west of the Mississippi could be in the mix — from Stanford to Boise State to Baylor.”
“She is going to take visits and make a decision when she feels it’s right,” the source added.
Another source close to the situation confirmed Boise State would be interested.
“I’m keeping my options open,” Slocum told the Idaho Statesman late Tuesday night.
Mike Neighbors, the head coach who originally recruited Slocum at Washington, left the Huskies for Arkansas on Monday. His departure from the Pac-12 program could factor into Slocum’s decision.
“I’m grateful for my time at Maryland and the opportunity,” Slocum said in a statement. “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 (Maryland) Coach (Brenda Frese) a great deal and have decided to continue my college career elsewhere.”
Slocum averaged 11.5 points and 6.0 assists to help Maryland (32-3) win the league title for a third straight year. She had more assists (204) and more 3-pointers (71) than any freshman in school history.
“Our staff is proud of the commitment we put into Destiny’s development and all the accomplishments she achieved this season,” Frese said in a statement. “We wish her continued success as she moves forward.”
The two-time 5A Idaho Statesman All-Idaho and Gatorade Idaho player of the year led Mountain View High to back-to-back state championships. The McDonald’s All-American wrapped up her career with the Mavericks with school records for points (2,281), rebounds (510), assists (442) and steals (304). She averaged 25.0 points, 6.4 rebounds, 5.2 assists and 3.2 steals as a senior.
Younger sister, Trinity, is set to begin her high school career at Mountain View this fall.
Playing at a university closer to home would allow Slocum to see her family on a more consistent basis. At Maryland, many of her teammates were from the East Coast and able to go home on the weekends.
“It was kind of hard,” the source said.
Idaho Statesman reporter Michael Katz contributed to this report.