TUSCALOOSA, Ala. — Alabama basketball is losing two players to transfers, Crimson Tide coach Avery Johnson announced Friday.
Sophomore guard Brandon Austin and junior forward Nick King are leaving the program for other opportunities. Both players missed time this season due to injuries.
Austin played in just six games during the 2016-17 season. He earned minutes in 36 games throughout his career in Tuscaloosa. Austin, a native of Montgomery, Ala., averaged 1.4 points and 8.7 minutes per game during his two-year career.
“I would like to thank all of the Alabama fans who supported me the past two seasons,” Austin said in a statement. “I would also like to thank our coaching staff for giving me the opportunity to play, as well as my teammates. I felt like it was in my best interest to move on and play elsewhere.”
Added Johnson, “Brandon and I met on Wednesday and he informed me of his plans to transfer to another school. He talked about the experience he had at the University of Alabama and what a privilege it was to work with our staff and playing alongside his teammates. After talking it over with his family, he felt it was in his best interest to pursue his education and basketball career at another school. We enjoyed working with Brandon. He is a person of great character, is very coachable and he has the desire to continue to get better. He will be an asset at whatever school he decides to go and we wish him and his family all the best.”
King is scheduled to graduate this May with an undergraduate degree in business management. He played in only seven games during the 2016-17 campaign. King, a native of Memphis, Tenn., averaged 3.3 points and 2.9 rebounds in 12.7 minutes per contest in his lone season with the Crimson Tide. He will be immediately eligible to suit up for a team next season as a graduate transfer, per NCAA transfer rules.
“I want to take thank the University of Alabama for helping complete my goals of becoming a better player and also a better person,” King said in a statement. “The university took a kid leaving his hometown for the first time and taught me ways on to handle myself as a young adult. I want to give a special thanks to the men’s basketball staff who put in extra time to work on my physical and mental strengths. I felt like I made a great decision by coming here. I’ve become a much better player since I’ve stepped foot on campus and I have made a decision I thought was best for my future as a graduating senior.”
Added Johnson, “After meeting with Nick on Wednesday, he informed me that after graduation he intends to transfer as a postgraduate player. This is a similar situation to Michael Kessens last season and we hope Nick’s transfer will be as smooth and successful. Nick sat out a season in our redshirt program and he significantly improved on and off the floor. This past year, his season was unfortunately cut short due to a health situation. We really enjoyed working with Nick and getting to know his family. We wish him nothing but the best moving forward.”
Alabama is bringing in a highly-touted recruiting class which features Collin Sexton (Georgia) and John Petty (Alabama). It’s considered by many to be the best recruiting class in Alabama basketball history.