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Kyryl

Wildcats' Natyazhko leaving for pro basketball

Kyryl Natyazhko, left, of Arizona, reaches for the rebound over David Wear, of UCLA, in the first half.

The Arizona Wildcats lost a second player off their basketball roster this afternoon when center Kyryl Natyazhko opted to leave for professional basketball

Natyazhko will sign with an agent in order to pursue opportunities in Europe. While his playing time decreased during his junior season in 20-11-12 -- he did not play in 11 of UA's final 15 games -- Natyazhko is a native of Ukraine who has leverage in striking a pro deal in Europe because of his nationality.

Arizona coach Sean Miller said Natyazhko expressed a desire to pursue pro ball during their meeting two weeks ago, a sentiment Natyazhko expressed in a UA statement.

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

Natyazhko's departure came less than three hours after the Wildcats announced twice-suspended guard Josiah Turner will pursue a transfer.

With the two departures, the Wildcats actually have room for one more player in the class of 2012. Arizona has 11 players as of now for next season, with six newcomers and five returners.

The Wildcats' biggest remaining issue may be in finding a point guard. Without Turner, Arizona will have to add a point guard or work with its three combo guards next season: Jordin Mayes, Nick Johnson and Gabe York.

The Wildcats are limited to 12 scholarships in 2012-13 because of NCAA sanctions.


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