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Leading scorer Tre’ Coggins to leave Air Force program

May 2, 2014, 11:54 AM EDT

Air Force v UNLV Getty Images

While Air Force didn’t enjoy as much team success as they had hoped for in 2013-14, sophomore guard Tre’ Coggins emerged as one of the better guards in the Mountain West. Coggins averaged 16.0 points per game for Dave Pilipovich’s Falcons, earning third-team All-Mountain West honors.

However the balance that service academy athletes have to navigate is a unique one, and according to the Brent Briggeman of the Colorado Springs Gazette that contributed to the decisions of Coggins and freshman center Darrius Parker to leave the program. Returning for his junior season would have triggered a five-year military commitment for Coggins, who according to the story struggled at times with the responsibilities that come with attending a service academy.

There was no guarantee that Coggins’ performance as a cadet would have been good enough for him to return anyway, but he took any guesswork out of that decision.

“He said, ‘I’m not going to wait for someone else to make it. I’m going to transfer,’” Pilipovich said. “He said, ‘Coach, I’ve been fighting this for three years.’”

Coggins has already sent out feelers to schools closer to his home in Southern California, but Pilipovich said no programs had responded as of Thursday morning.

Now that Coggins is officially leaving the program it’s likely that interest in the guard will pick up. Coggins’ decision leaves Air Force without a clear-cut option at the point guard position, and given the process of deciding which recruits will immediately enter the Academy and which ones will need to attend the Academy’s prep school that answer may not come until later this summer.

As for Parker, he averaged 3.8 points and 2.1 rebounds in 18 games in 2013-14. Parker began the season as a member of Pilipovich’s front court rotation, but that would change as the season wore on. Parker did play at least 15 minutes in three consecutive late-regular season games, including 21-minute outings in losses to UNLV and New Mexico.

h/t CBS Sports