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"There are no bitter feelings," Angel Johnson said. "He enjoyed his time at Texas. He's just looking for a place where he's a better fit. Sometimes you just need a change of scenery."
Johnson said she and her son were under the impression that Texas coach Rick Barnes would grant the release because he hasn't said anything to suggest otherwise.
"We've signed our end of the paperwork and we're just waiting for them to sign their end," she said. "We can't talk to other schools until that happens, and we certainly don't want to break any rules."
Texas spokesman Scott McConnell confirmed that McClellan had requested the release but said the school would have no further comment at this time.
A 6-foot-4 guard, McClellan averaged 13.5 points as a sophomore this season and had 15 games in which he scored 15 or more points. Myck Kabongo led the Longhorns in points per game at 14.6, but he only played 11 games because of a 23-game NCAA suspension.
There were times, however, when McClellan drew Barnes' ire for a lack of effort and intensity on the court. McClellan played just one minute in road games against Iowa State and TCU and only seven minutes against Oklahoma State.
Still, Wednesday evening, Johnson refused to make any critical remarks about Barnes or the way her son was treated during his time in Austin.
"He's just ready to try something new," she said. "He can go somewhere and sit out a year and work hard and develop. A fresh start will do him some good."
Johnson said it's unlikely McClellan will end up at another Big 12 program because NCAA rules require players transferring to another school in the same conference to sit out two years.
"We won't close any doors," Johnson said.
A Houston native, McClellan averaged 11.1 points as a freshman.
McClellan's decision to leave Texas could be a crushing blow to the Longhorns, who went 16-18 this season and missed the NCAA tournament for the first time in Barnes' 15-year career in Austin.
Reserve guard Jaylen Bond announced his intentions to transfer earlier this month, and there's a strong chance sophomore point guard Myck Kabongo will leave school early and enter the NBA draft.