Former Kentucky Forward Kyle Wiltjer Will Transfer to Gonzaga

Mike Chiari@mikechiariFeatured ColumnistJuly 19, 2013

The University of Kentucky men's basketball team is looking to rebound from a disappointing 2012-13 campaign this season after missing the NCAA tournament, but it will have to do so without forward Kyle Wiltjer.

 

UPDATE: Friday, July 19, at 5:35 p.m. ET by Ian Hanford

Wiltjer confirmed his transfer to Gonzaga via Twitter:

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.
Thank you BBN,
Kyle Wiltjer

---End of update---

---Original text---

According to Jeff Borzello of CBSSports.com, the junior forward's father said that his son has officially transferred to Gonzaga University:

Wiltjer played sparingly as a freshman two seasons ago due to the presence of players such as Anthony Davis, Michael Kidd-Gilchrist and Terrence Jones. He was given an opportunity to contribute more heavily as a sophomore, as he averaged more than 10 points and four rebounds per contest, but he certainly didn't live up to his advanced billing.

Kentucky head coach John Calipari is bringing in another incredible recruiting class this year consisting of players such as Julius Randle, Andrew Harrison, Aaron Harrison, Dakari Johnson and James Young, among others, so Wiltjer likely saw the writing on the wall with regards to his playing time decreasing once again.

As an Oregon native, going to Gonzaga also gives Wiltjer an opportunity to play closer to home. The only downside for Wiltjer is that he will have to sit out a year as per the NCAA's transfer rules, so he won't be able to help the Bulldogs until the 2014-15 season.

With that said, Wiltjer should be used far more effectively when he does ultimately begin playing for the Zags. Head coach Mark Few has developed plenty of successful big men over the past several years, including Kelly Olynyk, Robert Sacre, Austin Daye and Josh Heytvelt, so Wiltjer is now in a position to win and to bolster his case for the NBA.

With so many top recruits joining the Kentucky program this season, he probably couldn't have done that as a Wildcat.

 

Follow @MikeChiari on Twitter

Related

    4-Star PF Prospect Isaiah Mobley Commits to USC

    College Basketball logo
    College Basketball

    4-Star PF Prospect Isaiah Mobley Commits to USC

    Adam Wells
    via Bleacher Report

    DiVincenzo, Trent Jr. Shine in Combine Scrimmage

    College Basketball logo
    College Basketball

    DiVincenzo, Trent Jr. Shine in Combine Scrimmage

    Alec Nathan
    via Bleacher Report

    Players Who Hurt and Helped Their Stock at Draft Combine

    College Basketball logo
    College Basketball

    Players Who Hurt and Helped Their Stock at Draft Combine

    Jonathan Wasserman
    via Bleacher Report

    Colleges Looking into Betting Compensation

    College Basketball logo
    College Basketball

    Colleges Looking into Betting Compensation

    Alec Nathan
    via Bleacher Report