Sometimes player and coach don't have the same vision, as was the case with former UCLA forward Drew Gordon and coach Ben Howland. Gordon left the school last December and eventually enrolled at New Mexico.
Sometimes the sides can't find a way to make things work and part ways. That was the case when Howland dismissed big man J'mison Morgan following last season. Morgan, a Texas native, moved closer to home and is now coming off the bench for Baylor.
Sometimes it boils down to playing time. Chace Stanback, who played his high school ball at nearby Fairfax, left after his freshman campaign in 2008; Mike Moser left after his freshman season last year. Both are at UNLV.
Freshman guard Matt Carlino became the latest to jump ship Friday, surprising Howland with the announcement of his intent to leave the school. Carlino, who graduated from high school a year early to enroll at UCLA, did not see action in any of the Bruins' first seven games. He had sat out the first three with a concussion.
"It is with great humility that I declare my intentions to transfer from UCLA,” Carlino said in a statement released by the school. “I want to thank the university, coach Howland and his staff for affording me the opportunity of a lifetime. However, I believe a new destination would be much healthier for me both personally and athletically. 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.
“I hope to be enrolled in a new educational institution by next semester, though I’ve not yet determined my schools of interest. I will have no further comments on this matter.”
Carlino's decision appears to be related to playing time, with Howland admitting, "I probably should've played him in that Montana game and we wouldn't have this discussion."
Howland is usually blunt about the lack of rest his key players get. Last season, he repeatedly acknowledged that Michael Roll and Malcolm Lee were spending too much time on the floor. Roll averaged a team-leading 35.8 minutes per game; Lee wasn't far behind at 34.8.
And for a team that had obvious depth issues, the numbers tell it all: Moser, who could have spelled Roll and Lee, averaged just 4.7 minutes and sat more games (17) than he played in (15). Morgan tallied a mere 8.7 minutes per game even though UCLA was thin up front with the losses of Gordon (transfer) and James Keefe (injury).
Howland may be surprised, but Carlino's decision is far from shocking.