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November 14, 2011Sophomore guard Stacey Poole Jr. will leave the Kentucky basketball team and transfer to another school, UK coach John Calipari announced on Monday in a statement on his website.
Poole, a 6-foot-4, 200-pound player from Jacksonville, Fla., has been mulling his future all this month. He wasn't in uniform - or even on the bench - in UK's two exhibition games and its season-opening victory over Marist last Friday.
"Stacey and his family felt it is in his best interest to play somewhere else, and I fully respect the family and their decision." Calipari wrote on CoachCal.com. "I want to wish Stacey nothing but the best in whatever and wherever he chooses to go. He will always be a part of our family and the Big Blue Nation."
Rated as the nation's No. 33 prospect in the 2009 recruiting class by Rivals.com, Poole appeared in 16 of the Wildcats' 38 games as a freshman, logging 45 total minutes and scoring four total points.
"I feel if he would have stayed, eventually he would have had a breakthrough and had his opportunity," Calipari's statement said. "I told his family, 'Look, if he needs a week or two weeks to decide what he wants to do and he decides he wants to come back and play the year out, he can do that. I'll do whatever he wants to do.'"
The coach's statement didn't mention whether Poole would finish the academic semester at UK.
Assuming Poole enrolls at a new NCAA Division I school in the upcoming spring semester, Poole would have to sit out a year under transfer rules and be eligible to play in games during the second semester of the 2012-13 season. He is eligible to use a redshirt year this season.
Poole, along with UK sophomore forward Terrence Jones, were passengers in an automobile accident early last Friday morning near campus. Neither was injured when the SUV they were traveling in was struck by another vehicle whose driver was later charged with driving under the influence.