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Clyburn set to transfer from Utah

April 6, 2011
By TRAVIS HINES - Sports Writer (thines@timesrepublican.com) , Times-Republican

Will Clyburn has requested and received a release from the University of Utah, clearing his way for a transfer from the Utes' men's basketball program, the junior told the Times-Republican in a phone conversation on Tuesday evening.

His release will be official this morning, according to Clyburn.

The move comes just one day after the Utes introduced Larry Krystkowiak as head coach, replacing the fired Jim Boylen, who was let go more than three weeks ago.

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AP PHOTO
Will Clyburn (21) of Utah gets a shot off between TCU defenders on Feb. 22 in Salt Lake City. Clyburn, a two-year standout at Marshalltown Community College, said on Tuesday he has been granted a release from his scholarship after a coaching change at Utah.

"I've been thinking about (transferring) since the firing of Coach Boylen," said the former Marshalltown Community College standout, who added he had all but decided to transfer two weeks ago. Where he'll end up remains up in the air.

"I kind of had my mind made up that I wanted to be closer to home, play in front of my family."

The Detroit native's desire to play nearer to home was a major factor in the decision, according to MCC head coach Brynjar Brynjarsson, who also confirmed Clyburn's release to the T-R.

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"It was really just in the back of his mind that he wanted to go someplace closer," said Brynjarsson in a phone conversation Tuesday. "It really had nothing to do with the coach or Utah or anything like that.

"The situation that he went into is not the same situation that he has (now). And with that he felt like he needed to make a change for himself."

A message left for the Utah athletic department was not returned Tuesday night.

Clyburn was recruited by Boylen, and the two were close and had a relationship that dated to Boylen's days as a Michigan State assistant while Clyburn attended Romulus High School in Detroit.

"There was obviously the tie and the loyalty that Will had to (Boylen) and that was important to him," said Brynjarsson. "Right now he's a 20-year-old out in Utah and doesn't necessarily have somebody to lean on, and he just wants to get closer to home."

Boylen was given a five-year contract extension following the 2008-09 season in which his team was the co-Mountain West Conference champions. He is owed $2 million by the University of Utah.

"It kind of hurt me (to see him fired) because Boylen did bring me here," said Clyburn, who will finish out the semester at Utah. "I came here to play for Coach Boylen, but you can't control how everything goes."

"It caught me off guard. I wasn't expecting him to get let go," he added. "I was expecting for me to finish off my (career) under him and try to make something happen."

His wishes to return closer to home didn't surface until Boylen's firing on March 12.

"During the season I was OK. After the season, the firing of Coach Boylen, I had time to think about it," said Clyburn. "I did come to play for him, so I just thought it'd be good for me to get back home."

Clyburn was named a second-team all-conference performer after averaging 17.1 points and 7.8 rebounds per game for the Utes this past season.

After finding a new school, Clyburn will likely have to sit out the 2011-12 season, per NCAA transfer rules.

A year spent as a spectator and practice player was far from a deterrent in his decision.

"I think it's going to be good for me to sit out. I know it's going to be tough for me because I played last year," he said, "and being away from ball, competition for a year is going to be tough, but I think it's going to be for the best for me to get my body together and get my skill level (improved)."

Utah was Clyburn's choice over Iowa State, Northern Iowa, Wichita State and St. Louis a year ago. He will have one year of eligibility remaining after sitting out next season.

"He's going to have a lot of options," noted Brynjarsson of Clyburn's transfer possibilities.

He'll weigh those options with an eye toward his post-collegiate career, which he hopes will include professional basketball.

"I know that I have a shot to either play (here) or overseas," said Clyburn. "I know getting my body together and sharpening up my game is going to be the best thing for me."

 
 

 

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