Former Memphis point guard Antonio Barton chose to transfer to Tennessee on Sunday, picking the Volunteers over Maryland.
A native of Baltimore, Barton is expected to graduate this summer from Memphis and is eligible to play in the fall for Tennessee through the graduate transfer rule. He will have one year of eligibility remaining.
“Tennessee had the best chance of me coming in and winning – not only playing right away,” Barton said, according to The Baltimore Sun’s Don Markus.
For the Terrapins, this is a blow to a team short on point guard depth. Junior Pe’Shon Howard announced in April that he would be leaving Maryland for his senior season.
Here's our Maryland Insider's view on the situation:
Without Howard and Barton’s services, it is more likely that head coach Mark Turgeon will start a freshman at point guard next season.
Turgeon had privately told reporters there was no given that Barton would be handed the starting point guard job and that he would have to beat out incoming freshman Roddy Peters, the Suitland High product the coaching staff is very high on.
Rising sophomore Seth Allen is the other candidate to start at the point, but Maryland coaches have repeatedly indicated that the left-handed slasher is better suited to playing off the ball.
Barton says he wanted more playing time, something he was doubtful to find a lot of next year in Memphis with the return of senior Joe Jackson. While Maryland presented a good chance to earn early playing time, Tennessee had also lost its starting point guard from last season – Trae Golden.
A former starter for the Tigers, Barton’s role has steadily declined over the last three seasons. Last year, he had career lows with 5.6 points in 16.7 minutes per game. Barton is the younger brother of former Memphis star and current Portland Trail Blazer Will Barton.