The Memphis Tigers 2015-16 season may have taken a serious blow on Tuesday afternoon, as rising junior forward Austin Nichols told 92.9 FM ESPN in Memphis that he will leave the program after two seasons.
“It was in the best interest of my family and I to decide to transfer from the University of Memphis. I want to thank everyone for supporting me in my two years at Memphis,” Nichols told John Martin of 92.9 FM ESPN. “The coaching staff, fans, family and friends. As for me, I think it’s best if I move on from here.”
According to Martin, Nichols had missed a mandatory meeting on Monday and a team workout on Tuesday.
The words “may have” are used in the opening sentence because while Nichols plans on continuing his collegiate career elsewhere, it may not be that simple. Gary Parrish of CBS Sports reported shortly after that Nichols requested his release at the end of June, but was denied. Nichols’ father told Parrish the family could take legal action.
Nichols averaged a team-high 13.3 points per game and was second in rebounding at 6.1 boards a contest. An ankle sprain ended his season on March 2.
The 6-foot-8 forward, a five-star recruit, was one of the cornerstones of a highly-touted Class of 2013 for Josh Pastner. Nick King and Pookie Powell, other members of that class, transferred out the program in March. Dominic Woodson and Kuran Iverson had both previously cut ties with the team.