Coach Mike Montgomery announced today that D.J. Seeley has been given a release from his scholarship, and the sophomore guard confirmed he will transfer to another school.
“It was time for me to move on. I just feel like I need a new start,” Seeley said in a phone interview. “It wasn’t what I was thinking it would be like. It was a hard road. I just know I wasn’t happy.”
Seeley told me it was his idea to move on, but he has not been a good fit for Montgomery’s style of play from the start. Seeley was recruited out of Modesto Christian High by Ben Braun, who was gone by the time Seeley arrived on campus in the fall of 2008.
After Cal’s second-round loss to Duke in the NCAA Tournament a week ago Sunday, senior guard Patrick Christopher talked up Seeley’s prospects, suggesting it was his time to blossom. Seeley told me he hoped to become a team leader and that his performance might surprise people.
Today, he acknowledged transferring was something he’s been thinking about for a while. ”It was more of a business deecision than an emotional decision,” he said.
He said he wasn’t sure if he’d earn the starting job at shooting guard, vacated by Christopher’s graduation.
“You never really know,” Seeley said.”It would all come down to next year and how the coaches felt about my performance as far as what I did.”
Seeley averaged 2.4 points in 25 games this season, shooting 36.2 percent from the field, including 27.3 percent from 3-point range. In 51 games over two seasons, he averaged 2.2 points.
Seeley said he doesn’t know where he plans to attend school next season, but expects to make a decision within a month.
Seeley’s departure leaves open a second scholarship, not counting four committed to incoming freshmen. Depending on the outcome of the situation involving forward Omondi Amoke, who was suspended indefinitely for violation of team rules, the Bears could have the option to add as many as three more scholarship players before next season.
The coaching staff has been looking for another big man, but the focus now figures to expand to include one or two perimeter players.
Jorge Gutierrez is back for his junior season, able to play either point guard or shooting guard, but the only other returning scholarship guard is freshman point Brandon Smith.
Three incoming freshmen — Allen Crabbe, Gary Franklin Jr., and Alex Rossi — all figure to get the opportunity to show they deserve significant playing time at the perimeter spots.