May 7, 2013, 1:20 PM EST
Trae Golden’s time at Tennessee is done.
Golden averaged 12.1 points and 3.9 assists as a junior for the Vols, starting for the last two seasons. He helped lead Tennessee to a 20-13 record in 2012-2013. He’ll be leaving at the end of the spring semester.
“We want nothing but the best for Trae,” UT head coach Cuonzo Martin said in a release. “Everyone associated with our program wants to see him be successful, and we wish him well.”
“I had a great three years here at Tennessee, but I plan to play my senior year somewhere else this fall,” Golden said. “I really appreciate the staff and all the great support from Vol fans. I’m definitely going to miss my teammates. I want them to have nothing but success in the future.”
This move is interesting for a number of reasons. To start, Golden is the only experienced ball-handler that the Vols have on their roster, and they also have already released point guard Travon Landry from his letter of intent. With Jordan McRae and Jarnell Stokes returning, a healthy Jeronne Maymon, and incoming shooting guard Robert Hubbs, the Vols looked like they were going to have a chance to be pretty good this season.
Losing Golden is a huge blow.
Making this situation all the weirder is that it appears it may not have been Golden’s decision. Tobias Harris, who is one of Golden’s best friends, had the following to say on twitter this afternoon:
UPDATE: Gary Parrish provides some insight:
A source told CBSSports.com that Golden’s departure is related to “academic issues,” and that it’s unlikely Golden will be able to play elsewhere next season, despite what he said, because he must first graduate from Tennessee to create that opportunity. All indications, the source said, is that Golden will not graduate in time.
You can find Rob on twitter @RobDauster.
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