Louisville freshman to transfer

Jan. 24, 2002 at 5:14 PM
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LOUISVILLE, Ky., Jan. 24 (UPI) -- Louisville freshman Brandon Bender, who once contemplated entering the NBA draft before completing high school, left the Cardinals' program Thursday.

Bender received a full release from the university and will seek a transfer to another school.

"I fully agree with Brandon's decision that it would be in his best interest to pursue other opportunities," Louisville coach Rick Pitino told the Louisville Courier-Journal. "We wish Brandon nothing but the best."

Prior to committing to Louisville, Bender hinted that he might try to become the first player to enter the NBA draft without finishing his senior year of high school. But the forward-center's short tenure at Louisville was marked by off-court problems.

He was suspended by Pitino for academic reasons on Oct. 31 before returning for the season opener against Southern Alabama on Nov. 18.

Bender was suspended again on Jan. 4 for an unspecified violation of teams rules. At the time, Pitino said the suspension could last for the remainder of the season, but Bender was reinstated a week later.

He played in 14 games for the Cardinals, averaging 3.7 points and 3.9 rebounds. His best game came against Ohio State when he totaled 11 points, eight rebounds and three assists.

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