Starting point guard Naadir Tharpe announced on Thursday that he would not return for his senior season at Kansas.
Tharpe, who is from the New England area (Worcester, Mass.) cited personal reasons, not anything to do with the basketball program or his time at the University of Kansas, for his decision to transfer.
“I enjoyed my time here,” Tharpe said in a statement issued by the university. “Due to circumstances within my personal life, I will no longer be attending the University of Kansas. My daughter has current medical issues that require weekly visits to her physician, as well as with a specialist. At this juncture, I feel it is better to be closer to home where I can assist and support in any way necessary.
Tharpe’s two-year-old daughter, Aaron, was born in January 2012 during his freshman year.
“Naadir and I have talked numerous times since he’s been here about the (his) role (on the basketball team) and his situation back home with his daughter,” Kansas head coach Bill Self said. “He’s told me many times how much he misses his little girl, and she’s had some health issues that has certainly made it difficult for him to be away from her for this extended period of time.”
The 5-11 point guard started 31 games in 2013-14 and averaged 8.5 points per game. Tharpe ranked third in the Big 12 in assists per game (5.0) and assist-to-turnover ration. He helped lead the Jayhawks to a season record of 25-10 and 14-4 in the Big 12 along with their 10th consecutive regular-season conference title.
It wasn’t as if Tharpe didn’t have his difficulties on the court, though, in his three seasons at Kansas. He had trouble protecting the ball much of the 2013-14 season and created quite a few turnovers late in the season that drew the ire of many Jayhawk fans who felt the junior point guard was becoming a liability on the court.
It wasn’t made clear where, or even if, Tharpe will elect to play his senior season after leaving Kansas.
As for replacing the junior point guard, Kansas has several options. They have guards Conner Frankamp and Frank Mason on the current roster. Bother were freshman this past season. Wayne Selden, Jr., who also was a freshman in 2013-14, also could play the point, although his value is much greater at the two guard or shooting-guard position. The Jayhawks could also recruit a point-guard prospect, although it is very late in the recruiting process for the 2014-15 season.