VERNON, Conn. (AP) — Connecticut swingman Jamal Coombs-McDaniel, who was recently arrested on drug charges, plans to transfer from the national champions, the school said Thursday.
UConn coach Jim Calhoun made the announcement in a news release, hours after the sophomore from Boston’s Dorchester neighborhood had a court appearance on marijuana charges postponed.
“Jamal and I met recently and, although he loves the program, he would like more playing time,” said Calhoun. “He and I both agree that he may have more opportunity for that playing time in another program.”
Calhoun did not mention Coombs-McDaniel’s legal problems. The 6-foot-7 forward was arrested April 21 on campus and charged with two misdemeanors, possession of marijuana and possession of drug paraphernalia.
Police said he and two other people were found with 5.6 grams of marijuana, a marijuana grinder and a package of cigars used to smoke marijuana.
Coombs-McDaniel met briefly with prosecutors Thursday and his case was continued until May 19. He told reporters at the courthouse he would speak to them after his appearance, but left while they were in the courtroom waiting for the case to be called.
Coombs-McDaniel played in all 41 of UConn’s games during its national championship season, and started twice. He averaged 5.6 points and 2.7 rebounds.
“He was a very important part of our national championship this season and I know is capable of great success in the future,” Calhoun said. “We wish Jamal the best of luck athletically and academically where ever he decides to continue his college career.”
His departure opens up a scholarship for Calhoun, who has already lost one due to NCAA recruiting violations and is expected to lose at least one more later this month when the program’s Academic Performance Ratings are released.
To avoid a penalty, the team must score at least a 925 on the APR, which measures four years of academic performance and graduation rates. Last year, the team scored 930, including an 844 for the 2008-09 season.
Calhoun, who also faces a three-game suspension next season for the NCAA violations, says he still hasn’t decided whether he will return to UConn or retire. He said he will make that decision sometime this summer, but has no real timetable.