Missouri formally announced Tuesday night that sophomore forward Johnathan Williams III will transfer.
In the same news release, Tigers basketball announced that junior guard Deuce Bello would not return next season.
The Williams news wasn’t unexpected. His intentions to leave Missouri became public last week.
Still, it’s a blow for the Tigers since Williams led the team in points (11.9) and rebounds (7.1) per game last season.
“We appreciate the character and competitiveness that Johnathan brought to our Mizzou program and we certainly wish him the best of luck in the future,” Missouri coach Kim Anderson said in a statement. “Our Mizzou coaching staff will continue to build a foundation for championship basketball at our first-class institution.”
Williams will have to sit out next season but will have two years of eligibility remaining at his new school.
As a condition of his release, Williams cannot transfer to an Southeastern Conference or Big 12 school, Braggin’ Rights rival Illinois or Arizona, which visits MU in 2016-17.
Bello, who played two years at Baylor before transferring to MU, sat out the 2013-14 season and played sparingly in Anderson’s first season on the bench. Bello appeared in 23 games, including three starts, and averaged 1.8 points and 1.1 rebounds in 10.9 minutes per game.
He plans to graduate from Missouri this spring and pursue graduate studies elsewhere, which would make him immediately eligible for his final year.
According to the release from MU athletics, “The Mizzou men’s basketball program is cooperatively helping Bello with his potential future options.”
With the two departures, the Tigers have three unclaimed scholarships for the 2015-16 season.
Missouri had two open scholarships before the season after Torren Jones and Cam Biedscheid were dismissed, but signed two players — Blue Springs South forward Kevin Puryear and Pacific (Mo.) shooting guard Cullen VanLeer — during the early signing period.
He is expected to take one of four scholarships available after today’s announcement coupled with the graduation of Keith Shamburger and Keanau Post.