MANHATTAN — After a difficult sophomore season that saw him go from Kansas State's starting shooting guard to seldom-used backup, Nick Russell has decided to transfer.
"I feel like it's a better fit for me to go somewhere else," Russell said by phone, "so I can try to continue to grow as a basketball player."
Russell, a 6-foot-4 Dallas native, hasn't figured out where he will look to finish his college career, but said he will complete his spring semester at K-State before talking it over with his parents.
Russell averaged 4.2 points and 1.9 rebounds last season, playing 12.2 minutes per game. More was expected out of him after he completed a successful tour through Europe with a traveling all-star team of college players last summer and he scored 19 points in the Wildcats' season-opener against James Madison.
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He started the first eight games, but then lost his spot in the rotation and did not play at all during nine of K-State's most important games during Big 12 play and the postseason.
"It was a bittersweet season for me," Russell said. "The first part of the season, I played a lot and did some good things. But then it just went downhill from there. I still enjoyed the season and being around my teammates, but it was tough not to play."
So tough, that after discussing his options with his parents and praying on the matter, he decided to leave Manhattan, a place he said he will miss.
"It's unfortunate it didn't work out," Russell said. "I wish it could have, but ultimately it all came down to playing time."
Russell is the third player to leave K-State this season, joining Wally Judge and Freddy Asprilla, who quit the team midseason. His departure frees up room for incoming junior college transfer Jeremy Jones, who signed with the Wildcats last week along with St. John's transfer Omari Lawrence and Miami point guard Angel Rodriguez.
The Wildcats needed to make room for the trio of new players, but Russell said that had no impact on his status with the team.
"It was my decision to transfer," Russell said. "Ultimately, I want to take a shot at playing at the next level. I think it will happen at some point. I'm going to work hard and try to get better every day. Hopefully I can do that somewhere else."
Further roster changes could be announced by K-State this week. The Wildcats have been actively recruiting Washington State transfer James Watson, and news outlets in Washington have reported he signed a national letter of intent to play for the Wildcats over the weekend.