Less than six hours before its nonconference finale against Lipscomb on Thursday, the Missouri men’s basketball team announced that freshman forward Willie Jackson will transfer.
Jackson, a 6-foot-6 Cleveland native, intends to continue his career at a school closer to home, according to a release.
“I really appreciate the opportunity that Mizzou gave me, and I enjoyed my time in Columbia, but my family needs me closer to home, at this point,” Jackson said in the release. “We have an illness in the family, and I’m hoping to spend more time around my family to be a positive influence. I am thankful for everything that Mizzou’s coaching staff has done for me, and I will always be cheering for my teammates in the future.”
Jackson is the 14th player to de-commit, transfer or be dismissed from the Mizzou basketball team since third-year coach Kim Anderson was hired in April 2014.
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Anderson said Wednesday during his weekly news conference Jackson was in line for more minutes at small forward as the Tigers shake up the roster in the wake of a 5-6 start to the season.
Instead, Jackson’s career at Mizzou is finished after only 11 games, but “his decision has our support,” according to the release from the basketball program.
Jackson, who was high school teammates with Tigers freshman guard Frankie Hughes at Garfield Heights in Cleveland, averaged 5.9 points in 16.9 minutes per game this season. Jackson also was third on Mizzou at 4.6 rebounds per game and second with six blocks this season.
Roster turnover has been an issue during Anderson’s three seasons.
Guards Shane Rector, Cam Biedscheid, Deuce Bello, Montaque Gill-Caesar, Martavian Payne, Tramaine Isabell and Namon Wright transferred along with forwards Johnathan Williams III, D’Angelo Allen and Jakeenan Gant.
Forward Torren Jones and guard Wes Clark were dismissed.
Finally, State Fair Community College guard Kevin Punter, who committed to Mizzou before former coach Frank Haith left, de-committed the week Anderson was hired and starred last season at Tennessee, finishing second in the SEC at 22.2 points per game.