Freshman forward Willie Jackson has told the Missouri men’s basketball program he intends to transfer to be closer to his family, the team announced in a statement on Thursday.
Jackson has played in all 11 of the Tigers’ games this season, averaging 16.9 minutes, 5.9 points and 4.6 rebounds per game. He was a three-star recruit out of Garfield Heights High School (Cleveland), according to 247sports.com.
In a statement, Jackson said he “enjoyed his time in Columbia” but needs to be closer to home.
“We have an illness in the family, and I’m hoping to spend more time around my family to be a positive influence,” Jackson said in the statement. “I am thankful for everything Mizzou’s coaching staff has done for me, and I will always be cheering for my teammates in the future.”
In his senior year at Garfield Heights, Jackson averaged 21.0 points and 14.0 rebounds per game. Alongside fellow Mizzou freshman Frankie Hughes, Jackson guided the Bulldogs to a second consecutive Ohio Division I State Semifinals appearance in his senior season.
Mizzou basketball also released a statement, saying that the program intends to support Jackson’s decision.
“We understand Willie has a desire to be closer to his family due to a family medical situation, so his decision has our support,” the team said in its statement. “We appreciate what Willie has contributed during his time with the program and wish him the best in the future.”
Jackson’s transfer makes him the 13th player who has transferred or been dismissed since Kim Anderson took over as head coach in 2014. For context, 13 athletes can be on scholarship at a time for a Division I program.
Missouri will play the remainder of the season with 13 players on its roster. The team finishes up its nonconference schedule on Thursday in Columbia versus Lipscomb University before opening SEC play on Jan. 4 versus LSU.
Edited by Eli Lederman | firstname.lastname@example.org