ATLANTA — Kentucky coach John Calipari says sophomore point guard Ryan Harrow is transferring to Georgia State.
Calipari says he supports Harrow's decision to be closer to his family in Atlanta. Calipari says the health of Harrow's father played a role in the decision.
Harrow averaged 9.3 points per game as a freshman at North Carolina State in the 2010-11 season before transferring to Kentucky. He sat out the Wildcats' 2011-12 national championship season.
Harrow averaged 9.9 points in 29 games, including 24 starts, for Kentucky last season.
"Ryan was a vital part of this year's team and an important player in practice during our 2011-12 national championship run," Calipari said in a statement. "I want to thank Ryan for his efforts and hard work and wish him the best of luck at Georgia State. I know the Big Blue Nation will keep a close eye on him and wish him well as he continues his basketball career and his pursuit of a college degree."
Harrow's decision comes nearly two weeks after indicating that he wanted to return to the Wildcats following their first-round NIT ouster by Robert Morris that ended a disappointing 21-12 season for the defending national champions.
Asked if he might transfer with Kentucky bringing in another highly-touted group of freshmen next season — including twins Andrew and Aaron Harrison, both guards — Harrow said after the 59-57 loss that he was leaning toward coming back. Unless the NCAA grants a waiver that would allow him to play next season for Georgia State, he would lose a year of eligibility.
He leaves after an inconsistent season with the Wildcats.
There were promising moments where Harrow's quickness, penetration and scoring ability had Calipari suggesting he could be one of the nation's best point guards. Offsetting those performances were erratic efforts that typified Kentucky's guard play all season and led the coach to question their mental toughness.
Harrow started the opener against Maryland but missed the next four games because of an undisclosed illness and his departure to tend to a family matter back home in Marietta, Ga. The issue was not revealed at the time.
He returned to the starting lineup four games later and had perhaps his most productive stretch with eight straight double-figure efforts including a season-high 23 points against Marshall. Harrow's Southeastern Conference career also started well; he averaged 13.5 points and 4.5 assists to help Kentucky begin 3-1 in league play.
Then came an up-and-down stretch that included Harrow losing his starting spot to Jarrod Polson in a 30-point loss at Tennessee. He closed the regular season with strong outings, including 16 points each in wins over Missouri and Florida that kept alive Kentucky's hopes of earning an NCAA tournament at-large bid.
A four-point game followed against Vanderbilt at the SEC tournament, a 64-48 loss that ultimately left the Wildcats out of the 68-team field. Harrow broke down after the game and tearfully took the blame for the defeat.