Before Andrew White III decided to leave Kansas, he wanted to meet with his teammates.
White had already sat down with Kansas coach Bill Self, and reality had been spelled out in the form of a roster filled with talented guards and wings.
White, a 6-foot-6 sophomore guard, was happy at Kansas. And Self was happy to keep White. But if he stayed, he risked another year stuck on the bench, his minutes limited by competition.
So after two years at Kansas, White told his teammates that he was leaving. Self announced White’s decision to transfer in a statement on Thursday evening, saying that White was hoping to find better opportunities elsewhere.
“We’re definitely disappointed about this, but also respect Andrew and the decision he’s made,” Self said, adding that he and White had talked about his role throughout the season and in postseason meetings.
“He had a very good spring and we talked again (Thursday),” Self added. “He feels it is in his, and his family’s, best interest to pursue some other opportunities.”
White, a native of Richmond, Va., was a top-50 recruit out of the Miller School in Charlottesville, Va. He averaged just five minutes per game during his freshman season, and when freshmen Andrew Wiggins and Wayne Selden Jr. arrived on campus this past season, his minutes were limited again.
White was a candidate to take a redshirt, but he started the season on the fringe of the rotation before being mostly relegated to the bench by conference play.
White would have faced another battle for playing time as junior. Selden is returning for his sophomore season, while KU is adding McDonald’s All-American Kelly Oubre on the wing. The Jayhawks also return Brannen Greene and Conner Frankamp in the backcourt rotation.
“I spoke with my family and the coaches several times throughout the spring and after the season ended, discussing what my expected role would be on the team,” White said. “Coach Self told me it would be questionable to break into the rotation.”
For Kansas, it’s the second roster defection in the last eight days. Junior point guard Naadir Tharpe announced his intentions to transfer closer to home last Thursday, one day before KU signed point guard Devonte’ Graham of Brewster Academy in Wolfeboro, N.H.
Now KU suddenly has two open scholarships and a roster that looks close to complete heading into next season. Self has said that he’s not done recruiting, and Kansas could look to add a player in the ever-increasing transfer market.
Another intriguing option surfaced last month, when Ukrainian teenager Sviatoslav Mykhailiuk attended the Nike Hoop Summit in Portland, Ore., and revealed that he might be interested in playing college basketball in the United States. Mykhailiuk, who will turn 17 in June, is a 6-foot-6 wing and one of the top young prospects in Europe.
Information has been limited on his actual desire to play college basketball, but KU is reportedly among the schools that have inquired. Despite his young age, Mykhailiuk could apparently be eligible this coming fall after finishing high school in the Ukraine.
For now, though, the loss of White won’t likely have too much effect on the team in 2014-15.
“We respect everything about Andrew White,” Self said. “He’s been a great ambassador for our school. He’s a terrific student and terrific young man. He’s been nothing but positive.
“He will always be welcome in any capacity coming back to the University of Kansas because we think that highly of him.”
A month ago, at the KU team banquet, White made it clear that he wanted to stay in Lawrence. But after some discussions with his family, he decided a change could be for the best.
"My family and I decided it would be the best choice to move on and explore other school options,” White said. “I feel like every day I gave maximum effort and gave everything in my power to the program. I feel I made the best out of my situation.”