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June 24, 2013Though the door is open for a return, it appears that Kyle Wiltjer is exiting Kentucky.
Wiltjer released an open letter to Wildcat fans late Monday afternoon on Kentucky's official athletics website as coach John Calipari posted on his website that Wiltjer is exploring other collegiate options.
"After playing with (the) Canada (national team), Kyle feels like he could have a more prominent role in another program than he might have with us next season," Calipari said in a post on his website. "He expressed to me that that's the kind of situation he wants to be in for his last two years of eligibility. For his future, he may be right."
Wiltjer wrote that he's looking for "a situation that will help me do this as well as play a more significant role, wherever that may be."
He hedged the statement, ending with "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."
Wiltjer, a former McDonald's All-American from Portland, Ore., averaged 10.2 points and 4.2 rebounds as a sophomore this season. He averaged 7.3 points and 2.8 rebounds per game in 73 career games, playing in all 40 games during UK's 2012 NCAA championship season.
Wiltjer announced after the season that he would return to the program, saying in a release at the time, ""I'm so excited about the possibilities of next season. I love Coach Cal and the staff, the University of Kentucky and the Big Blue Nation. After talking with Coach and the staff, I understand what I need to do. I want to be a part of another championship. This summer I'm going to work the hardest I've ever worked to come back next season better and stronger to help my team fight for number nine."
In his letter on Monday, Wiltjer wrote that "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."
It wasn't immediately clear what schools Wiltjer will consider, though Gonzaga is expected to be one option.
Wiltjer lauded Calipari's support during the decision-making process, writing in his open letter that, "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."
"I told Kyle I'll play whatever part he wants in his transfer, whether that's being involved and calling other schools on his behalf or not being involved in any way," Calipari wrote on his website. "He expressed to me that he needs my help and advice, which I will give. Whatever Kyle chooses - and I still hope he ends up back with us - I wish him and his family the best of luck."