Ater Majok leaves UConn


Ater Majok made it official today, withdrawing from UConn after completing only one season.  No official reason was given, only a short announcement that he is withdrawing:

“Ater Majok (Sydney, Australia) has withdrawn from the University of Connecticut and is no longer a member of the men’s basketball program.

Majok played in 26 games in 2009-10 as a freshman, averaging 2.3 points and 3.0 rebounds.”

The consensus seems to be that Majok withdrew for financial reasons, more specifically, to play basketball in Australia and earn money to support his family.

Neill Ostrout of the Connecticut Post is suggesting that Majok may instead transfer to another program, citing St. Mary’s specifically, due to Randy Bennett’s success in recruiting and developing players from Australia.  With all due respect to Ostrout, I’m not really on board with this theory for a handful of reasons.  First, Majok seemed happy at UConn, and I don’t think he’s suddenly decided that another school would be a better fit.  Second, Majok is already 23, and would be a 25 year old sophomore after sitting out a year.  Along those lines, we’ve all heard that his family needs financial support, and putting it off yet another year doesn’t seem to be the answer.  Finally, I’m not sure how the Australian angle ties in, unless Majok is friends with or has been teammates with the current players.  I’m not sure how many years he even played in Australia.

The UConn Blog, after referring to one of my posts on this topic with less than glowing terms, (“…a somewhat-suspect theory about the possible departure of Ater Majok…”) now seems to be hedging their bets, saying:

“It’s also possible – unlikely, but possible – his departure could somehow be tied to the response the school is set to give to the NCAA’s allegations of major recruiting violations.”

Admittedly, the different opinions came from two different writers.

It’s still all very curious, considering Majok had stated about a month ago how happy he was at UConn, and how he had no reason to leave.

UConn will likely hold a press conference tomorrow or Friday to discuss the response to the NCAA concerning the allegations against the program.  Whether Majok’s departure has anything to do with those allegations or not, my guess is that his reasons for leaving will be a topic of discussion.

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