Basketball: Wiltjer leaving Ky, is Cal on his radar?

Forward Kyle Wiltjer is leaving Kentucky after two seasons, according to Wildcats coach John Calipari.

Would the junior forward consider transferring to Cal?

Wiltjer gave no hint as to his next stop, but he was recruited long and hard by coach Mike Montgomery and his staff before deciding — at the last minute — to sign with Kentucky.

The 6-foot-10 native of Portland, Ore., never made it big at UK, where Calipari recruits a new complete roster of  high school All-America talent each year.

Wiltjer averaged10.2 points and 4.2 rebounds last season, shooting 42.1 percent from the field, 36.7 percent from 3-point range. He averaged 5.0 points as a freshman, but shot 43.2 percent from beyond the arc.

Playing time at Kentucky was going to be tougher stll next season, with the arrival of six McDonald’s All-Americans.

Lexington Herald-Leader writer Jerry Tipton reported the news of Wiltjer’s transfer in his blog Monday, quoting Ca;ipari saying the forward wants “a more prominent role.”

Calipari said Wiltjer can become a professional player, but must get stronger to reach that goal.

Here is the letter Wiltjer wrote to UK fans:

“Heading into college my dream was to win a National Championship and compete with and play against the best players in the country,” Wiltjer said in the letter. “Without a doubt, I accomplished both of these goals in my two years at Kentucky.  Now as I head into my junior year, I recognize that my new and adjusted goals require me to make some very difficult upcoming decisions.  Coach Cal has been everything I expected him to be, as I have felt very comfortable talking with him about my situation.  I cannot stress enough how supportive Coach has been during this period. He is more than a coach to me, and for that I am forever grateful.

“During this next year, I will be working on my body so that I am able to compete the way I know I can.  I want to find a situation that will help me do this as well as play a more significant role, wherever that may be. Even though I might physically leave Lexington, I will never forget the support and kindness that everyone has shown my family and Ime.  It is difficult to put into words how hard it is to possibly leave BBN, yet I am confident that whatever I choose, I will give it my all. Regardless, I will always bleed blue and will never forget these amazing last two years at Kentucky.”

Jeff Faraudo