Arizona sophomore forward D.J. Shumpert has decided to transfer from the Arizona basketball program, he confirmed in a UA news release today.
Shumpert was unavailable for further comment but Etop Udo-Ema, Shumpert's traveling team coach, said he has received Shumpert's release from Arizona, obtained after the Santa Rita product played just 21 minutes over 10 games this season.
Shumpert chose UA over UAB in the fall of 2008, but wound up playing sparingly for both interim coach Russ Pennell last season and first-year coach Sean Miller this season.
Shumpert's mother, Vicki Watson, declined to comment on whether her son was transferring but said Miller did not take her son's scholarship away. Miller had assured Shumpert after last season that his scholarship would be honored if he wanted to stay.
"It's no disrespect to Sean -- he's building his own program," Watson said. The holdover UA players such as Shumpert "were Lute Olson recruits. Sean has a different program and it is what it is.
"I have nothing but praise for Sean. I was happy when he came here and I'm still happy he's here."
Miller also had complimentary words for Shumpert.
"D.J. Shumpert is a fantastic kid and was an exceptional teammate and representative of our basketball program during his two years at Arizona," Miller said. "Like a lot of young players he wants to put himself in a position to have a more significant role as a basketball player in his future. We mutually agreed that pursuing that at another program would be best for him. We wish D.J. all the best in his future, and in the meantime, he will continue to workout and be a part of our postseason program."
Shumpert's departure will give Miller another scholarship to offer the class of 2011-12. With junior college forward Jesse Perry committing Sunday night, the Wildcats had no other scholarships to offer until now.
Arizona could gain additional scholarships with further transfers or other player departures.