The Nevada athletic department announced on Tuesday that senior C AJ West left the team for "personal reasons".
"We would like to thank AJ for his contributions to the Wolf Pack basketball program during his time here," said head coach Eric Musselman in a statement released by the team. "We wish him nothing but the best as he moves forward."
Chris Murray of RGJ.com was the first to break the story:
BREAKING: All-Mountain West center AJ West leaves the Wolf Pack for personal reasons and won't return to the team: https://t.co/x28IF4IqCB— Chris Murray (@MurrayRGJ) December 15, 2015
Last season, West was the lone bright spot during a dreadful 9-22 season. West was 3rd in the nation in offensive rebounding, and was named to the All-Mountain West team. After new head coach Eric Musselman took over, West saw his minutes drop in favor of freshman Cameron Oliver. While Oliver has flourished under Musselman, West did not seem to buy into his system and the center was no longer the force down low that he once was.
West's number have dropped along with his minutes since last season. His rebounds per game dropped from 11.0 last season to 7.7 through 10 games this year. His blocks dropped from 2.6 to 1.8 and his PPG have dropped from 12.1 to 9.6 this season.
With West being a senior, he has effectively ended his college career.
Despite the decrease in playing time, AJ West still leaves a void. The Wolf Pack currently lead the nation in blocked shots, mainly because of West and Oliver. Musselman will likely use a platoon to replace West at first with senior Lucas Stivrins, junior Kalieb Rodriguez, and sophomore Elijah Foster all unproven.
Nevada had been playing very good basketball before West left but they will likely stumble a bit while they try and replace his production.
The Wolf Pack's next game is Friday against Santa Clara. Eric Musselman needs to know which player will step up in the hole left by West if they have any hope of knocking off Wichita State next Tuesday.