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Arizona guard Brandon Williams leaves program to play professionally

Arizona guard Brandon Williams (2) drives past Oregon State forward Alfred Hollins during the second half of an NCAA college basketball game Saturday, Jan. 19, 2019, in Tucson, Ariz. Arizona defeated Oregon State 82-71. (AP Photo/Rick Scuteri)

Arizona Wildcats sophomore guard Brandon Williams is leaving the program to pursue professional opportunities, the school announced Friday.

“I am going to miss Brandon Williams being a part of our everyday program at Arizona,” head coach Sean Miller said in a press release. “However, I am excited to follow his path moving forward, both on the basketball court and academically, as he continues to pursue his undergraduate degree from our university.”

Williams was productive as a freshman in the 2018-19 season, averaging 11.4 points per game. He missed all of last year when he had knee surgery in August.

Williams was not among the 13 scholarship players listed on the Wildcats’ roster coming into this season, and Williams did not report to Tucson in August, remaining home in southern California.

“It’s now time for me to pursue my goals of being a professional basketball player,” Williams said in a statement, thanking the school. “I will continue to pursue my degree in the future, and it will always be UofA forever in my heart. Thanks again to the entire Arizona basketball family, both past and present! BEARDOWN FOREVER!!!”

Even with Williams’ status on the team of spending two years with the program and getting legitimate playing time right away, it was going to be a battle for him to see top minutes.

Junior guard transfer James Akinjo was granted immediate eligibility and graduate transfer Terrell Brown averaged over 20 points per game at Seattle University last season. Junior Jerami Baker Jr. was a key fixture in last year’s rotation while freshman Kerr Kriisa’s playmaking at point guard has developed more buzz this summer as he plays internationally for Estonia.

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