Former Lee Academy prep school player Travon Wilcher has returned to Maine to play basketball for the University of Maine men.
Wilcher, who began the season as a freshman on the University of Massachusetts team, opted to transfer and has been attending classes at UMaine this week.
The transfer occurred very quickly.
“He called us within the last couple weeks and wanted to come to Maine,” said Maine head coach Ted Woodward. “We knew him from Lee Academy and saw him play a bunch up there. He’s a versatile athlete who can play the three [small forward], four [power forward] and five [center] spots.”
Woodward wouldn’t speculate on Wilcher’s reasons for a transfer, other than noting he was recruited by former head coach Travis Ford, who was replaced by Derek Kellogg at UMass last April.
The 21-year-old Wilcher, who sat out the 2007-08 season at UMass to meet NCAA eligibility requirements, is a 6-foot-7, 210-pound forward from Springfield, Mass.
“I think he’s a high level athlete who had a great reputation coming out of Lee,” Woodward said. “He’s a very nice kid and we’re glad he picked Maine to come to.”
In five games with the UMass Minutemen this season, he averaged 2.8 minutes, 0.7 points and 0.5 rebounds per contest.
The son of Sheila and Tracy Wilcher reportedly overcame a learning disability — an inner ear infection that prevented him from hearing things clearly — before attending Lee Academy.
Wilcher, who was part of a 2006 UMass recruiting class ranked 19th nationally by HoopScoopOnline.com, was also recruited by Oklahoma, Temple, Xavier, Rhode Island and Missouri.
Wilcher, a native of Springfield, Mass., will be eligible to play for Maine after the first semester of the 2009-10 academic year ends. He will have 2½ years of eligibility with the Black Bears, provided he meets necessary academic guidelines.