Montana sophomore forward Jake Wiley leaves program

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Montana’s front court stable took a hit on Sunday afternoon, as it was announced that 6-foot-6 sophomore forward Jake Wiley has decided to leave the program. Wiley, a native of Newport, Wash., played 20 games as a freshman (3.0 mpg) and posted averages of 0.9 points and 0.6 rebounds per game.

“Jake has decided not to play any longer with the Grizzlies for personal reasons, and obviously we honor that decision,” Tinkle said according to KTVQ TV in Billings, Mont. “Jake is a great young kid with a promising future, and we wish him well.”

Wiley played a season-high 13 minutes in the Grizzlies’ NCAA tournament loss to Syracuse, accounting for five points (2-for-3 FG), one rebound and one blocked shot. Wiley’s decision to leave the program means that the Griz have one less option to call on in the front court, with Washington transfer Martin Bruenig having to sit out the 2013-14 season per NCAA rules.

Senior center Eric Hutchison (3.3 ppg, 2.1 rpg) will be a key figure for the Griz with Mathias Ward out of eligibility, and sophomore center Andy Martin stands to see his minutes increase as well after playing 8.2 minutes per game as a freshman. Montana also adds Western Texas College transfer Chris Kemp, a 6-foot-7 forward who posted averages of 7.2 points and 6.6 rebounds per game last season.

Montana does have senior Kareem Jamar (14.2 ppg, 5.9 rpg, 4.0 apg), the reigning Big Sky Player of the Year, at the small forward position. He, along with guards Keron DeShields and Jordan Gregory, will be expected to lead the way for the Griz as they look to hold off Weber State and North Dakota and remain at the top of the Big Sky.