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Tariq Owens has interest from Maryland

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NCAA Basketball: Marquette at St. John Anthony Gruppuso-USA TODAY Sports

According to Evan Daniels of 247Sports, Tariq Owens was expected to receive his release last night — and has Maryland on his short list.

According to the Baltimore Sun, Maryland has reciprocal interest in Owens.

Tariq Owens will be a fifth-year senior and should graduate this spring, giving him one season to play at another University as a graduate student (or return to St. John’s as a grad student).

He was an important part of the St. John’s defense last season, leading the Big East in blocked shots with 94 (2.8 per game) while being a solid defensive rebounder. Owens also was effective on offense in the pick and roll and elevated his jump shot into an effective weapon out to the three-point line.

Owens played a season at Tennessee, and then transferred to St. John’s just after Chris Mullin took the job as head coach in Queens. Owens sat out a season and played two for the Johnnies.

Why Maryland?

Maryland has some very good big men, but two are graduating. Two Maryland freshmen may be looking at the NBA draftBruno Fernando and Justin Jackson. Both of the freshmen are on Sports Illustrated’s Top-80 list, and Jackson is on the ESPN Top 25 draft list. As the Baltimore Sun adds, if either returns, Owens would come off the bench.

Maryland, where Owens attended high school before a post graduate high school season, could be a higher-level showcase for Owens, if the Big Ten improves from a lackluster year. Maryland went 19-13, and was in 8th place of 14 in the league, but the league only received four bids due to a weak strength of schedule.

What will Owens do? Will he return to the Red Storm?

Without Owens, St. John’s would have Marvin Clark II, Sedee Keita and Kassoum Yakwe (barring a transfer), and would likely look for a competent grad transfer to fill in minutes. Freshmen Josh Roberts and Marcellus Earlington would also have chances to earn time.