Choi to leave Maryland, return to South Korea
Maryland sophomore forward Jin Soo Choi will leave Maryland and return to his native South Korea, according to a source close to the player. Choi, the first Korean player to receive a Division I scholarship, decided to transfer after it became clear the language barrier (Choi's first language is Korean) would be too great to overcome. Maryland confirmed Choi's decision in a press release issued Tuesday afternoon.
"It was hard for him to adjust to anything because [Choi's] English proficiency was so poor," said the source, who requested anonymity because of the sensitive nature of the topic.
Choi also was dealing with academic issues stemming from a class he failed during the fall semester. The grade was under review, and it was possible that if Choi stayed at Maryland he would have been deemed ineligible for the coming semester, which begins Jan. 25.
The source said Choi's parents have filed a petition to gain Choi entry into this season's Korean Basketball League draft, but the petition is unlikely to be granted as the draft's deadline was Dec. 3. If his petition is denied, Choi will attempt to transfer to a Korean university, the source said.
"After speaking with my family, we decided it would be best to continue my basketball career in Korea," Choi said in a statement released by the school. "I want to thank the coaches and especially Coach Williams for giving me an opportunity to play basketball at a high level."
On the court, Choi's intermediate English proficiency made fully comprehending the instructions of the coaching staff and teammates difficult, the source said. According to the source, Choi grew increasingly frustrated because he felt his performance in practice warranted more playing time in games.
Choi practiced with the team while the situation remained unresolved, and he played four minutes during Sunday’s 34-point win at UNC Greensboro. He played in nine games this season, averaging 0.8 points and 1.1 rebounds in 4.9 minutes per contest.
"We wish Jin Soo well in whatever he decides to pursue," Maryland Coach Gary Williams said in a statement released by the school. "We appreciate the contributions he's made to our basketball program in the past two seasons."
In the classroom, Choi had issues with two courses he took during the fall semester, according to the source. He failed one class, and he did not pass a placement exam he took at the conclusion of a class he took through the University of Maryland English Institute, a program for students for whom English is a second language. The placement exam is meant to measure students’ progress in their English proficiency.
Although the UMEI class had no bearing on his athletic eligibility, the failed class could have kept him from competing in any games after Jan. 25. The source said that Choi planned to transfer regardless of how the academic issue turned out.
Earlier today, the Korean Times translated an interview Choi conducted in Korean with a Korean magazine following the Dec. 30 loss to William & Mary.
Choi’s academic troubles began during his freshman year, when he was initially declared ineligible by the NCAA Clearinghouse before being cleared prior to the start of the season. In late January, Choi was declared academically ineligible after failing one of the classes he took through the UMEI during his first semester on campus. He was cleared to play three days later after Maryland conducted an internal review of the decision.
Choi played in 21 games last season, averaging 1.6 points, 1.1 rebounds and 6.5 minutes per game. Though initially expected to provide the Terrapins a long-range scoring threat, Choi shot 21.7 percent (5 for 23) from beyond the arc during his Maryland career.
Posted by: HughGRection | January 5, 2010 1:56 PM | Report abuse
Posted by: acebojangles | January 5, 2010 2:10 PM | Report abuse
Posted by: Russtinator | January 5, 2010 2:36 PM | Report abuse
Posted by: artiechin | January 5, 2010 2:45 PM | Report abuse
Posted by: lavar609 | January 5, 2010 3:16 PM | Report abuse
Posted by: restonhoops | January 5, 2010 4:04 PM | Report abuse
Posted by: bselig | January 5, 2010 4:23 PM | Report abuse
Posted by: bselig | January 5, 2010 4:25 PM | Report abuse
Posted by: anotherFresefan | January 5, 2010 5:21 PM | Report abuse
Posted by: tradervic1313 | January 5, 2010 5:22 PM | Report abuse
Posted by: tradervic1313 | January 5, 2010 5:40 PM | Report abuse
Posted by: Poopy_McPoop | January 5, 2010 7:18 PM | Report abuse
Posted by: Barno1 | January 6, 2010 4:47 PM | Report abuse
Posted by: Barno1 | January 6, 2010 4:50 PM | Report abuse
Posted by: Poopy_McPoop | January 6, 2010 9:02 PM | Report abuse
Posted by: section221001 | January 6, 2010 9:58 PM | Report abuse
Posted by: Poopy_McPoop | January 7, 2010 1:47 AM | Report abuse
The comments to this entry are closed.