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

By Jeff Faraudo
Monday, June 24th, 2013 at 3:13 pm in Basketball, Recruiting.

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.”

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  • David

    Wonder if Monty would take him?

  • Crawford

    Can stretch the D with his range and play down low, would love if he came to Berkeley, can’t see where Monty wouldn’t want him

  • Gobears49

    Don’t recall the rules, but in some situations a transferee doesn’t have to lose a year when he transfers. I think it is when the transferor school gives permission for the transfer, but again I am not sure. There is also a name for that. Anyone know the rules here. Obviously, it would be great to get another good big man right away. We now only have two for next year who are proven.

  • Juancho

    Pretty sure they have to have graduated. Or have an extreme situation, usually health of a family member. Neither apply here.

  • The Wisdom Cow

    I looked it up a while ago, and there are many ways, but there usually needs to be a location reason (like returning near home or family) or academic reason (sign him up for a major not offered at Kentucky!). The fact that coach Cal is cool enough to release him plays a factor, I believe, with regards to certain options.

    Sign him up if he wants to come. That location aspect would work for Marcus Lee should he change his mind. Wink, wink, nudge, nudge.

    Football thought – Cal will definitely improve soon, just in time to take the higher slot the Kraft Fight Hunger Bowl now holds.

  • Bob

    I’d love to have the guy, but I assume wherever he goes he will want to enroll for the coming year. Although that would be his redshirt year, he would still take up one available scholarship, and I don’t think we have any available for next year with our five-man recruiting class. Does anyone else count differently than me?

  • rollonubears

    So it’s not that he’s interested in getting a better education, huh?

  • wehofx

    We sure could use another quality big.

    I count 5 schollys w roger moute(sp). I’m sorta kinda sure we have 1 left because of AC leaving and/or the transfer at the beg of last year of a player whose name escapes me.

    JF?

  • 1brsfan

    I believe we have one open scholly based on a player leaving so that’s not an issue. However I think he’s probably headed to Oregon or D2 school if he wants to play right away.

  • 1brsfan

    from espn… they don’t list Cal as a school pursuing him.

    The schools that are going to pursue him in seeking a release are Gonzaga, Portland, Oregon, Oregon State, Stanford and Texas, as reported by ESPN.com. The Zags will lean heavily on the example of Kelly Olynyk, who worked out well as a redshirt. Olynyk used his redshirt year to bulk up and change his body and game.

  • The Wisdom Cow

    As he’d be going close to home in Oregon (the state, not necessarily the school), it would make sense because it’s his best chance to play this coming season.

  • Dan

    He’ll probably end up at SDSU, Gonzaga, or Oregon. All seem to be Transfer U on the west coast- I know the Aztecs have 2 scholarships open and need bigs.

    He has to sit out a redshirt year, and he alludes to the fact he wants to work on his game and get stronger- he can do that redshirting.