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Saturday, January 28, 2006
Downs, Burgess heading to Gonzaga

Associated Press

SPOKANE, Wash. -- Kansas basketball player Micah Downs will transfer to No. 7 Gonzaga, the McDonald's All-American said this week.

Downs, a 6-foot-8, 180-pound small forward, said earlier this week that he was leaving Kansas, where he averaged 4.3 points in 13 games as a freshman this winter.

"It's unfortunate that Micah's tenure as a Kansas basketball player only lasted one semester," Kansas coach Bill Self said at that time. "Micah has decided to go home to resolve some personal issues."

Downs told The Spokesman-Review on Friday that he was going through the admissions process and expected to enroll next week.

"I really just want to focus on getting the rest of this [admissions] stuff taken care of," he said. "Then I'll be willing to set down and talk to the media hopefully by the middle of next week."

Downs averaged 24 points and 12 rebounds as a senior at Juanita High School in Seattle last winter. He signed with Kansas after reportedly considering scholarship offers from Gonzaga and Duke, the newspaper said.

Under NCAA rules, coaches from schools other than Kansas are not allowed to comment on Downs until he starts attending classes once again. Gonzaga started its second semester on Wednesday.

Downs will likely have to pay his own way at GU, at least for the rest of the semester, because with the addition of BYU transfer David Burgess earlier this month the Bulldogs now have the NCAA limit of 13 players on scholarship.

Downs attended several high schools in three different states. As a junior at Bothel (Wash.) High School, he averaged 19.7 points and 11.8 rebounds.

He played his sophomore season at Butte (Mont.) High, and his freshman year at Green Valley in Henderson, Nev.

Downs' father, Steve, told a Seattle area newspaper that he was forced to move his son from school to school because of his occupation as a carpenter.

Under the NCAA's transfer rule, Downs would not be eligible to play for Gonzaga until the end of the first semester next year, sometime in December, and would have about 2 years of eligibility remaining.

Burgess, a 6-foot-10, 250-pound center from Woodbridge High School in Irvine, Calif., has transferred from Brigham Young to Gonzaga.

"It came down to whatever I thought would make me the best player I could be," Burgess said last week. "And Gonzaga has proven that they can develop big men. Just look at Ronny Turiaf, Casey Calvary and Richard Fox."

Burgess, who made a recruiting trip to Gonzaga after averaging 19 points, 13 rebounds and four blocked shots during his senior year at Woodbridge, appeared in only two games as a freshman at Brigham Young in 2004-05 before undergoing surgery on both of his ankles.

He played in only three games for the Cougars this year.

He contends his ankles are sound and he's ready to contribute for the Bulldogs as soon as possible which will be next December, after he sits out one year under the NCAA's transfer rule.