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Winthrop recruit Trapp asks for release after Peele firing

The next Winthrop men’s basketball coach, whenever he’s hired, is going to have another spot to fill.

Recruit Jackson Trapp, who signed a national letter of intent with the Eagles in the fall, wants out after the firing of coach Randy Peele.

A source close to Trapp said Thursday that Trapp had already called Winthrop officials to ask for his release, and expected it to be granted.

The 6-foot-4, 185-pound shooting guard from Orlando, Fla., who played at Fishburne Military Academy, had developed a close relationship with Peele and was disappointed at his firing.

Calls to Winthrop officials weren’t returned Thursday.

Trapp’s prep school coach said that when Trapp signed with Winthrop, he had other interest from schools in the Colonial and Atlantic 10, among others.

There has also been speculation that two other recruits, Christian Farmer and Jerran Foster could be on their way out, depending on the future of assistant coach Larry Dixon. Farmer had also signed an NLI, while Foster had not yet because his application was caught in the NCAA Clearinghouse process.

Winthrop officials have reached out to Dixon, in an effort to maintain a relationship. Coaching sources told The Herald that Dixon is exploring other job possibilities, but remains open to the possibility of working under the new coach as well.

Farmer’s AAU coach, Kerry Sargent, said that Farmer was on the fence immediately after Peele and his staff were fired. He pointed out that Farmer’s brother played for Dixon at East Carolina, and that relationship was much of the reason he chose Winthrop.

“With Larry not there any more, I don’t know,” Sargent said when asked about the younger Farmer. “I think he might change his mind to be honest with you.”

Foster indicated he was still interested in coming to Winthrop, but he wanted to wait to see where the coaching staff landed. Athletic director Tom Hickman said the day after Peele was fired that he was reaching out to each of the just-fired coaching staff’s recruits.

“My plan with each of the guys who have signed NLIs is to just get in touch, tell them where we are,” Hickman said on March 6. “I want to make sure that on our end, we plan on honoring our commitment, and we hope they do the same.”

The Eagles will have at least four spots to fill for graduating seniors Andre Jones, Reggie Middleton, George Valentine and Matt Morgan, and there could be more. Redshirt junior forward Gideon Gamble is on pace to graduate, and his back problems this year make it a natural concern.

Freshman point guard Andre Smith also sounded unsure about his future early on.

“Right now I can’t comment on any of that,” Smith said the day of Peele’s firing. “That’s going to be a family decision, so I can’t really say right now.”

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