Two more Missouri men’s basketball players have opted to leave the program. Sophomore guards Tramaine Isabell and Namon Wright will not return to the Tigers in 2016-17, MU announced Tuesday.
“Tramaine Isabell and Namon Wright have made the Mizzou Men’s Basketball program aware of their intentions to transfer,” coach Kim Anderson said in a release from the athletic department. “We will fully support these requests on the condition of Tramaine and Namon completing their academic requirements to close the semester. We appreciate what both Tramaine and Namon contributed during their time with the program and wish them the best as they continue to pursue their academic and athletic goals.”
That means four players from last season’s roster will not return, not including senior forward Ryan Rosburg, who has exhausted his eligibility. Junior guard Wes Clark was dismissed from the team in mid-February and Mizzou announced in late February that sophomore forward D’Angelo Allen also would transfer.
Wright, who started 21 of 31 games last season, was the Tigers’ third-leading scorer behind freshman forward Kevin Puryear and Clark, averaging 9.6 points. He also led the team in rebounding at 5.2 per game.
Missouri coach Kim Anderson repeatedly praised the overall development of Wright’s game during the season even as his shooting percentages dipped dramatically compared to his freshman campaign. Wright more than doubled his rebounding output as a sophomore and also added the ability to drive to his offensive repertoire, going to the free-throw line 109 times last season after only 18 such trips his freshman season.
Wright, a 6-foot-5 shooting guard from Pacific Hills High in Los Angeles, signed with Missouri in November 2013 during former coach Frank Haith’s final season.
Isabell — a 6-foot point guard from Garfield High in Seattle — was a late commitment in the same recruiting class. He committed in June 2014, two months after Anderson was hired. Isabell averaged 6.2 points in 28 games last season. He saw a spike in minutes after Clark’s dismissal, but he also repeatedly had been suspended for his attitude during the last two seasons.
The departure of Wright and Isabell represents another blow to a program already saddled with hefty retention issues. The Tigers’ 2013-14 Academic Progress Rate, an NCAA measure for a team’s retention and academic success, was a meager 851.
Missouri already needs a 931 score when the 2014-15 APR figures for Anderson’s first season are announced by the NCAA in May. Barring revisions to previous seasons, anything short of that will drive the program’s four-year average below 930 and trigger another one-year postseason ban. The Tigers self-imposed a postseason ban this season after a 19-month joint investigation with the NCAA revealed several rules infractions.
Mizzou, which is 19-44 during the last two seasons, has now had 12 players de-commit, transfer or be dismissed during Anderson’s tenure.
The Tigers went 9-23 in 2013-14, setting a program record for most losses in a single season, and also endured a program-worst 13-game losing streak. Three players — including the team’s leading scorer and rebounder, Johnathan Williams III, and its top freshman scorer, Montaque Gill-Caesar — transferred after that season.
Missouri went 10-21 last season, including a second consecutive last-place finish in the SEC with identical 3-15 conference records.
Sophomore forward Jakeenan Gant is the only remaining player from the 2014 recruiting class on the Tigers’ roster. Gant, like Wright, originally committed to Missouri under Haith. He recently underwent surgery to repair an injured shoulder.