Transfer guard includes lists Maryland among five finalists

Josh Stirn

Maryland is one of five finalists for Utah transfer Both Gach, he announced Monday. The Terps were joined on his list by Minnesota, Auburn, Creighton and Iowa State.

Gach has taken virtual tours of each of his finalists, including Maryland. The Terps also have an ally that can vouch for the program in sophomore center Chol Marial, who like Gach has roots in South Sudan and finished his high school career at AZ Compass Prep. The two were never teammates, but they’re friends and are currently working out together in Arizona. A Sports Illustrated profile on Marial in January also noted that Gach played a role in Marial’s decision to attend AZ Compass Prep. Maryland coach Mark Turgeon reached out to Gach less than 48 hours after he entered the transfer portal, along with more than a dozen other high-major programs who were interested in the 6-foot-7 combo guard.

NCAA extended its dead period through July last week, meaning Gach won’t be able travel to see any of his finalists in person. That could work as an advantage for Minnesota, the local program that hosted him on unofficial visits multiple times when he was at Austin HS.

With seldom-used junior guard Serrel Smith transferring last week, Maryland has three scholarships available for next season and they’re exploring backcourt and frontcourt options alike. Along with Gach, they’ve reached out to Indiana graduate transfer forward Justin Smith, who will be eligible to play next season, and inquired about rising senior high school big men Franck Kepnang and Charles Bediako reclassifying and joining this year’s team. Bediako’s AAU coach Dwayne Washington, however, told that the Candian center prospect will remain in the 2021 class.

Gach, who averaged 10.7 points, 3.6 rebounds and 2.9 assists for the Utes as a sophomore last season, announced his decision to transfer in mid-May after declaring for the NBA Draft a month earlier but the 6-foot-6 guard pulled his name out of the NBA Draft last week, choosing to focus his efforts on finding his next college destination. He’ll likely have to sit out next season unless he receives a waiver from the NCAA before playing out his final two years of eligibility at his new school. He has no known timetable for a final decision and with everything virtually on hold and few other transfer guards on the market, there’s no clear reason for him to rush his choice.