- Peter Yoon, ESPNLosAngeles.com
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UCLA reserve forward Brendan Lane plans to graduate early and transfer to another school, he said Tuesday.
Lane, a 6-foot-9 junior, will enroll in graduate school at his new destination and therefore will be able to play without sitting out a season under the graduate transfer rule. He will have one year of eligibility remaining. Lane averaged 1.6 points and 1.8 rebounds in 19 games and 6.6 minutes per game this season.
"It's hard," Lane said. "I've been here three years and the coaches have been supportive and my teammates have been supportive. It's been a really tough decision, but I've got to make the decision that is best for me."
Lane will graduate with a degree in economics and has the option of extending his graduation until next year by adding classes toward a minor degree, but said he isn't interested in doing that.
Lane was among the top-20 power forward recruits in the nation out of Rocklin High School, but never quite developed into a top-level player with the Bruins. He averaged 2.4 points in 10 minutes a game as a freshman and three points and 3.1 rebounds in 15 minutes a game last season.
This year, his playing time diminished because of the emergence of David and Travis Wear, twin transfers from North Carolina who play the same position as Lane.
"It's a little bit of an issue, but mostly academics is the most important part right now," Lane said. "I want to focus on graduating and getting somewhere I can go and obviously someplace I can play, too."
Lane said he hadn't yet begun to explore possible schools and that he could stay close to home or "have the experience away from California." Coach Ben Howland said he will do all he can to help Lane find a school and said it would most likely be a "mid-major institution."
"Brendan has been absolutely fantastic in terms of the type of kid he is," Howland said. "He's someone that I will always have great appreciation and affection for. ... We'll try to help him find the possibly situation both academically and that also fits the opportunity where you know that you're going to have a great chance to start and play your last year of college basketball and really have a great experience with that."