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July 19, 2013

Kyle Wiltjer to transfer to Gonzaga

Kyle Wiltjer, who announced last month he was considering a transfer from Kentucky, is headed to Gonzaga.

Wiltjer announced the news with a statement sent via his Twitter account:

"Dear BBN, this past month has been very emotional and challenging for me. Whether to transfer or not has been one of the toughest decisions of my life, so I would like to thank everyone for being so supportive through this process.

"I feel like in my basketball career I'm facing a make it or break it moment and the primary factor in this decision is transforming my body. I'm choosing to transfer to Gonzaga because i feel they have a proven plan in place to help develop players similar to me, which has seen great results. I believe with hard work I can maximize my development at Gonzaga. The last two years at UK have been a valuable experience and I'm very grateful for them.

"Even though I'm leaving the program, Coach Cal and I will continue our relationship and I will look to him for advice. He is more than just a coach to me. I have made many friends here and I plan to come back. My heart will always be in Lex."

Neither Kyle or Greg Wiltjer could be reached immediately for comment.

UK coach John Calipari responded to the news Friday on Twitter.

"I'm saddened that (Wiltjer) is leaving the program, but if he thinks it's in his best interest to go somewhere else, I support his decision," Calipari tweeted. "Here is what I sent Kyle after he told me of his final decision: 'All's good. Mrs. Cal & I are sad and disappointed but accept your decision. Thank you for helping us win a national title and working so hard for me the last two years. Go prove me right! You can play!! I will be here for you if you need me. Love you, kid.'"


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.

On June 24, Wiltjer released an open letter to Kentucky fans that said he was pondering a transfer. On the same day, coach John Calipari posted on his website that the door was open for Wiltjer to return.

At the time, Wiltjer wrote that he was seeking "a situation that will help me do this as well as play a more significant role, wherever that may be."

He wrote about "possibly" leaving UK, suggesting that he might return.


"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 at the time. "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."


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