Cal Basketball: Connor Vanover Heading Home to Play at Arkansas

Freshman big man becomes the third Cal player to announce his transfer after coaching change

Freshman center Connor Vanover becomes the third Cal player to transfer after announcing via Twitter this morning that he will move on to play in his home state for the Arkansas Razorbacks.

Vanover, a 7-foot-3 athlete with a perimeter shooting touch, also had been considering Vanderbilt.

A native of Little Rock, Vanover joins a Razorbacks' program that will be under the leadership of new coach Eric Musselman, formerly of Nevada. Vanover will be required by NCAA transfer rules to sit out next season, unless he secures a waiver.

Vanover offered no details as to the reason he is transferring, but the Bears are starting over with new coach Mark Fox. Previous coach Wyking Jones was fired after the worst two-year record (16-47) in program history.

In a separate tweet directed to the "Cal family," Vanover called his time at Berkeley "an incredible experience."

"I will always cherish these memories that I've made with my teammates, coaches and Cal fans forever," he wrote. "I will not be returning to Cal next year but a part of me will always be a Golden Bear."

Vanover came on strong late last season, averaging 12.0 points, 4.8 rebounds and 2.1 blocked shots over the final 12 games. He had career-high totals of 24 points and six blocked shots in a late-season win at Stanford.

(Click here for a video of what Stanford coach Jerod Haase said about Vanover in the Bears' final game before the Pac-12 tournament.)

His exit follows departures by forward Justice Sueing (Ohio State) and guard Darius McNeill (SMU). Sueing, a sophomore forward, was the Bears' top scorer (14.3) and rebounder (6.0) last season while McNeill averaged 11.0 points and led the Bears with 66 3-point baskets.

The three departed players accounted for 47 percent of the Bears' scoring last season

Fox and his staff continue to recruit, but the Bears currently have just nine committed scholarship players for next season, six returnees and three incoming freshmen.

(Click here for what Fox said about Vanover and Sueing a week ago.)

Musselman takes over at Arkansas after four impressive seasons at Nevada, where he compiled a record of 110-34 with three Mountain West Conference regular-season titles and three NCAA tournament bids.

Musselman formerly was a head coach in the NBA with the Warriors (2002-03 through 2003-04) and Sacramento Kings (2006-07). His NBA coaching record was 108-138.

Arkansas fired coach Mike Anderson after the Razorbacks went 18-16 in his eighth season this year. The program had reached the NCAA tournament three times in the past five years, including the two years previous to this season.

Comments