UK roster downsize almost finished
Posted: Wednesday, May 27, 2009 5:52 pm
By: By JEFFREY MCMURRAY, Associated Press Writer
LEXINGTON, Ky. (AP) — Kentucky announced Tuesday that three players from last year’s squad are leaving the program, bringing the Wildcats closer to their roster limit of 13 scholarship players.
Sophomore forward A.J. Stewart plans to transfer, as does 6-foot-3 freshman Donald Williams.
Senior Jared Carter will not seek a fifth year of eligibility.
Kentucky is now down to 15 scholarship players — including coach John Calipari’s incoming freshman class.
That number could be 14 should top scorer Jodie Meeks leave for the NBA draft next month.
Stewart, a 6-foot-7 sophomore, sometimes provided a spark off the bench last year and was a consistent free throw shooter, making 82 percent of his attempts from the line.
He averaged six minutes and two points a game.
“I appreciate Coach Calipari and the staff being truthful with me,” Stewart said in a statement after leaving the university. “I want to further my career both academically and athletically at a school where more playing time is available. I know that coach will do anything possible to find a great situation for me.”
Calipari was out of town and unavailable for comment, but assistant John Robic said it was a mutual decision between Stewart and the coaches.
“A.J. just wants to go somewhere and really play and contribute,” Robic said of the situation. “We’re going to do everything we can to make that work for him. He was very levelheaded about it.”
Stewart had some rocky moments under former coach Billy Gillispie.
At one point he quit the team after playing just three minutes against South Carolina, then reconsidered and was allowed to return only after Gillispie met with the team about his request to come back to the basketball program.
Carter had already gone through Senior Day but was considering asking the NCAA to extend his eligibility due to a shoulder injury that sidelined him most of the 2006-07 campaign.
In 42 career games, he averaged one point and one rebound.
“I’m looking forward to moving on with my life and am excited to see what professional opportunities await me,” Carter said.
Williams didn’t play his freshman season and was also seeking a transfer.
“I would have liked to have played and helped, but with coach leaving, sometimes it just happens that way,” Williams said.