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Tharpe to give up final year of eligibility

  • The Wichita Eagle
  • Published Wednesday, July 9, 2014, at 3:18 p.m.

Former Kansas guard Naadir Tharpe, who announced his decision to transfer in May, has decided to forgo his final season of college eligibility and try to play in the NBA’s Development League.

“I didn’t want to sit out,” Tharpe told CBSSport.com on Wednesday. “At this point, I’d rather just try the D-League instead of sitting out a year to play a year (in college).”

Tharpe left Kansas after playing three seasons for coach Bill Self, including a stint as the starting point guard during his junior year. In a joint statement with Self released on May 1, Tharpe said he was leaving Kansas to be closer to his 2-year-old daughter, Amara Grace, who had battled health issues during his time in college. Tharpe, a native of Worcester, Mass., was interested in playing somewhere closer to home.

“Naadir and I have talked numerous times since he’s been here about his role and about his situation back home with his daughter,” Self said in the statement. “He’s told me many times how much he misses his little girl, and she’s had some health issues that have certainly made it difficult for him to be away from her for this extended period of time.”

Tharpe averaged 8.5 points and five assists per game during his junior season, helping Kansas secure its 10th straight Big 12 championship. But his on-court struggles were magnified by a tumultuous start to the offseason in the spring.

A revealing photo showing Tharpe with an unidentified woman had surfaced online, going viral and drawing a public admonishment from his head coach. By early May, Tharpe and Self both believed a change of scenery would be for the best. Now Tharpe’s college career appears to be over.

“My daughter has current medical issues that require weekly visits to her physician, as well as with a specialist,” Tharpe said in May. “At this juncture, I feel it is best to be closer to home where I can assist and support in any way necessary.”

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