The Maneater

Senior guard VanLeer medically retires

VanLeer started 13 games as a junior last season and averaged 2.4 points per game before tearing his ACL against Arkansas in March.

MU senior basketball player Cullen VanLeer, announced that he will medically retire after a knee injury that occurred in March 2017. Courtesy of Mizzou Athletics

Missouri guard Cullen VanLeer will medically retire from basketball and forgo his senior season after three seasons playing for the men’s basketball program, the team announced in a press release Tuesday night.

VanLeer’s medical exemption will allow him to retain his scholarship for his senior year. It will not count against Missouri’s number of available team scholarships.

VanLeer tore his ACL in the second half of Missouri’s senior night game against Arkansas on March 3 and had to miss the rest of the season, including an SEC Tournament and NCAA Tournament first-round game.

VanLeer appeared in 94 games for the Tigers across his collegiate career, making 33 starts. He averaged 4 points and 1.4 rebounds per game throughout his career. He also tallied 96 career assists, about 1 per game. He started 13 games last year and averaged 2.4 points.

“This was a difficult decision, but one that was best for me, my family and my future quality of life,” VanLeer said in the release. “I am thankful for the support coach [Cuonzo] Martin and his staff, my teammates, my family and friends and Mizzou nation.”

VanLeer’s loss will subtract a guard from Missouri’s lineup for the 2018-19 season. It could spell more time for several newcomers to the backcourt, including sophomore K.J. Santos and freshmen Torrence Watson, Xavier Pinson and Javon Pickett. It leaves Jordan Geist as the only senior getting minutes in the backcourt.

The release says VanLeer “will continue to play a key leadership role in the program throughout the 2018-19 campaign,” meaning the senior will still likely participate in team activities and be on the bench during games.

“[VanLeer] is a special young man and I admire his work ethic and willingness to do everything in his power to better the program,” Martin said in the release. “I know his leadership will be a significant asset for us during the upcoming season.”

Edited by Bennett Durando | bdurando@themaneater.com

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