BASKETBALL

Arizona Basketball: Turner, Natyazhko leaving UA

Moves clear roster for pair of players added this week
2012-04-12T00:01:00Z 2014-07-24T10:51:11Z Arizona Basketball: Turner, Natyazhko leaving UABruce Pascoe Arizona Daily Star Arizona Daily Star
April 12, 2012 12:01 am  • 

In one dizzying afternoon Wednesday, the Arizona Wildcats cleared ample roster space for their two newcomers while making room for possibly one more.

Arizona announced that twice-suspended guard Josiah Turner has decided to transfer to an unknown school, and Ukrainian center Kyryl Natyazhko will pursue a professional career in Europe.

The moves put the Wildcats one under their scholarship limit of 12 for the 2012-13 season, even with the additions this week of Duquesne guard T.J. McConnell and Cochise College big man Matt Korcheck, giving them a chance to further bolster their backcourt.

Because McConnell will have to sit out next season under NCAA transfer rules, Turner's departure leaves the Wildcats without a true point guard for the 2012-13 season. As of now, they have three combo guards available: junior Jordin Mayes, sophomore Nick Johnson and freshman Gabe York.

But even if the Wildcats don't add to what is now a six-man 2012 recruiting class, Arizona is already used to limping by at point guard. UA coach Sean Miller signed Turner as a five-star point guard in 2010 only to witness him struggle on and off the court as a freshman.

Turner began the season in the starting lineup but sat out early in the second game of the season because he showed up late for a pregame shootaround. He later missed a total of five games over two suspensions for unspecified reasons.

Turner was suspended for UA's Dec. 7 game at Florida and later for the Pac-12 tournament. After the conference tournament, Miller announced that the second suspension was indefinite, and Turner did not play in the UA's season-ending NIT loss to Bucknell.

In a brief news release Wednesday, Turner thanked his teammates, coaches and UA fans for their support and noted that he "learned a lot in my year at Arizona."

Miller said Turner would remain enrolled at Arizona and finish the semester in good academic shape, which will make it easier for Turner to become eligible elsewhere and save Arizona an additional Academic Progress Rating point.

"Josiah made a great deal of progress as a student-athlete in his year with us," Miller said in a statement. "All of us at Arizona wish him well in his future."

The APR is a rolling four-year measurement of retention and eligibility, and a low score can keep teams out of the postseason. But UA is expected to post a 975 score when the four-year averages are updated in May, well over the penalty mark of 930.

As a result, UA associate AD Rocky LaRose said, men's basketball is in "great shape" despite the most recent departures, which included the December dismissal of Sidiki Johnson. The freshman forward from New York left before the fall semester ended and thus likely cost Arizona APR points in both retention and ineligibility.

In addition, departures for professional basketball such as Natyazhko's will not hurt the APR if he signs a pro contract.

And even though Natyazhko's role diminished at the end of his three-year UA career - he did not even play in 11 of the Wildcats' 15 final games - his size and status as a European national should gain him leverage in pursuing a contract in Europe.

Natyazhko made a mark while playing for the Ukrainian national under-20 team in the summer of 2010, averaging 17.2 points, 8.4 rebounds and 1.1 blocks per game in the European U-20 Championships.

"I'd like to thank the fans, my teammates and the coaching staff at Arizona," Natyazhko said in a statement.

"It has been a wonderful experience for me to study and play here. I appreciate the efforts of everyone who helped me develop as a person and as a player. As hard as it is for me to leave, at this time I have to do what is best for me and my family and pursue these professional opportunities, but I plan on earning my degree in the near future."

Miller said Natyazhko expressed a desire to pursue pro ball during their meeting two weeks ago, and that the two agreed to only pursue it if an "excellent opportunity" arose.

"Since our meeting those types of opportunities, in fact, have become available to him," Miller said, adding: "All of us at Arizona support Kyryl's desire to begin his professional career. As a part of our program for three years, Kyryl represented himself as a great teammate, a hard worker and a good student off the court. We wish him well in his professional career."

Leaving early

Early UA departures under Sean Miller:

Player, date left, destination

G Garland Judkins, Jan. 2010, Texas A&M, Corpus Christi

G D.J. Shumpert, May 2010, Cal State San Bernardino

G Daniel Bejarano, April 2011, Colorado State

F Derrick Williams, April 2011, NBA draft

G MoMo Jones, May 2011, Iona

F Sidiki Johnson, Dec. 2011, Providence

G Josiah Turner, April 2012, unknown

C Kyryl Natyazhko, April 2012, unknown

2012-13 Roster

Arizona's projected 2012-13 scholarship players. The Wildcats have one available scholarship as of now, with a 12-man scholarship limit for 2012-13 because of NCAA sanctions.

Returnees

F Angelo Chol, 6-9, 217, So.

F Solomon Hill, 6-6, 226, Sr.

G Nick Johnson, 6-2, 200, So.

G Jordin Mayes, 6-2, 195, Jr.

F Kevin Parrom, 6-6, 215, Sr.

Newcomers

F Brandon Ashley, 6-8, 215, Fr.

F Grant Jerrett, 6-10, 220, Fr.

C Kaleb Tarczewski, 7-0, 220 Fr.

G Gabe York, 6-1, 170, Fr.

G T.J. McConnell, 6-1, 185, Jr.*

F Matt Korcheck, 6-9, 220, Jr.*

* McConnell must sit out next season under NCAA transfer rules. Korcheck is expected to sit out by choice.

Copyright 2014 Arizona Daily Star. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.


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