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Sean Miller confirms that Omar Thielemans has left Arizona Wildcats
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Sean Miller confirms that Omar Thielemans has left Arizona Wildcats

Arizona Basketball

Omar Thielemans poses for a photo during media day at McKale Center on October 1, 2018.

Belgian freshman Omar Thielemans is leaving the Arizona basketball program.

Arizona announced his departure Wednesday morning, saying Thielemans would transfer.

“Omar is a great young man and we wish him the best going forward,” coach Sean Miller said in a statement.

Thielemans forwarded a Verbal Commits tweet to a Star reporter Tuesday night saying he would leave. When asked why, Thielemans said via direct message to "stay tuned... you'll know soon."

A 6-foot-7-inch forward who committed to Arizona last April, Thielemans did not play in UA's Red-Blue Game for what the school termed "personal reasons" and Miller said afterward that Thielemans has also missed practices.

Thielemans was not expected to crack UA's rotation this season. When asked at UA's media day on Oct. 1 what he had seen of Thielemans so far, Miller said:

"You know, Omar is a great kid and he's really in a transition from FIBA basketball and playing in Europe to playing college basketball at a high level. I think the best years are ahead of him. I think he's more of a developmental player, development being at the forefront of what we're trying to do. We're excited to have him as part of our program."

Thielemans said last spring he was on track to receive a pro offer in Europe, though it isn't clear if he would pursue that or transfer to another school. 

Thielemans' departure will open another scholarship for the 2019-20 season. Arizona already has commitments for its four other expected openings, with guards Nico Mannion and Josh Green plus forward Stone Gettings and center Christian Koloko. A grad transfer from Cornell, Gettings is scheduled to arrive in December but not play until next season.


Arizona's 2018-19 roster now looks like this:

Contact sports reporter Bruce Pascoe at 573-4146 or bpascoe@tucson.com. On Twitter @brucepascoe


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