West leaves Nevada hoops; ex-star cites personal reasons

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RENO, Nev. (AP) — AJ West, who led Nevada in scoring and rebounding a year ago, has left the Wolf Pack for personal reasons.

West, a 6-foot-9 senior post player, was one of only 11 players in the nation to average a double-double last season with 12.2 points and 10.8 rebounds. His 5.9 offensive rebounds per game led the country and were the most in the NCAA in 20 years.

The Brooklyn, New York, native was averaging 9.6 points and 7.7 rebounds so far this season, but he recently fell out of the starting lineup and his playing minutes were declining under first-year coach Eric Musselman.

West said in a statement provided to the Reno Gazette-Journal on Tuesday (http://tinyurl.com/j6zw8qo) that he's leaving for undisclosed personal reasons and doesn't "want to be a distraction to the team." He said he intends to focus his energy on his personal matters and trying to obtain his college degree.

Musselman said in a statement that the school thanks West for his contributions and wishes him "nothing but the best as he moves forward." The coach had cited West's "lack of effort" during a week of practice leading up to his benching at the start of a Nov. 25 game against Portland State.

Former Nevada coach David Carter told the Gazette-Journal last year that West had earned a reputation as a "complicated" player to coach.

West said in October he had considered transferring at the end of last season, but was excited about the hiring of Musselman, former head coach of the NBA's Golden State Warriors and Sacramento Kings.

West originally committed to Duquense out of high school before enrolling at Niagara, where he never played, and spent a year at Monroe College. He chose Nevada in 2013 over offers from Memphis, Seton Hall, Detroit, Marshall, Pepperdine and South Florida, the newspaper reported.

Nevada (7-3) hosts Santa Clara on Friday and plays at Wichita State on Dec. 22 before opening league play Dec. 30 at New Mexico.


Information from: Reno Gazette-Journal, http://www.rgj.com

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