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Monday / February 20.

Josh Smith Leaves UCLA Team

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Things continue to get wild in Westwood.

No. 24 UCLA, off to a 4-2 start that included Sunday’s loss to Cal Poly, announced that junior center Josh Smith has left the team.

“Joshua is a fine young man who has meant a lot to this program,” said UCLA head coach┬áBen Howland. “I know I speak for myself and my staff when I thank him for his time in Westwood and wish him well in his future endeavors.”

Smith is the second player to leave the program in four days, following the transfer announcement of junior guard Tyler Lamb.

According to Baxter Holmes of the L.A. Times, UCLA has eight scholarship players left, four of whom are freshmen and three of whom are North Carolina transfers.

A native of Kent, Washington, Smith entered his junior season with the Bruins averaging 10.4 points, 5.6 rebounds and 19.5 minutes played in 65 career games (24 starts) over his first two years in Westwood.

This year, he’s down to 5.2 points and 4.2 rebounds per game in 13.5 minutes played.

Listed generously at 6-10, 305 pounds, Smith has battled weight issues his entire career and, as a result, failed to up to his potential, in the eyes of many.

“I have made the decision to leave the program for personal reasons,” Smith said. “I have thoroughly enjoyed my time at UCLA and am grateful for the opportunity that has been presented to me here.”


Release/photo courtesy UCLA

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Adam Zagoria is a New York Times contributor and Basketball Insider who covers basketball at all levels. He is the author of two books and is an award-winning journalist whose articles have appeared in ESPN The Magazine, SLAM, Sheridan Hoops, Sports Illustrated, Basketball Times and in newspapers nationwide. A veteran Ultimate Frisbee player, he has competed in numerous National and World Championships and, perhaps more importantly, his teams won the Westchester Summer League (WSL) championships in 2011 and 2013. He lives in Manhattan with his wife and children.