UCLA freshman guard Matt Carlino, who graduated from high school a year early to enroll at UCLA, is transferring and will return home to Phoenix, head coach Ben Howland told the media Friday.
Carlino, who has not played in a regular-season game, still has four years of eligibility remaining.
"I believe a new destination would be much healthier for me both personally and athletically," Carlino said in a statement. "I sincerely apologize to all those, especially those closest to me, who may find my decision disappointing, and I want to wish all of my coaches and teammates at UCLA best of luck going forward."
Carlino had logged 12 minutes of playing time in UCLA's exhibition win over Westmont on Nov. 4, but then suffered a concussion in practice Nov. 8 and missed the first three regular-season games because of it. Despite a full recovery in time for the team's Thanksgiving weekend trip to New York for the NITSeason Tip-Off, he did not appear in a game.
Reportedly, playing time was a key in factor in his decision to leave.
"It really caught me off guard because I wasn't expecting this," Howland told Scott M. Red of the Orange County Register. "I didn't see him being down or lowly this whole time, so it was a surprise. I understand why it's hard after you're used to being the star of your high school team, which most of these kids are."
A native of Arizona, Carlino played his junior season of high school at Bloomington South High School in Indiana, where he averaged 13.4 points and 4.3 assists per game, while leading the Panthers to a 23-1 overall mark and an appearance in the Indiana 4A State Regional finals.
"I probably should have played him against Montana (last Sunday)," Howland added, "and we wouldn't have had this discussion."
Carlino's departure leaves the Bruins with just nine scholarship players for the remainder of the season.
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