Austin Reaves has asked for and been granted his release and will seek to transfer from Wichita State this summer, the school confirmed on Thursday morning. The news was first reported by Rivals recruiting analyst Corey Evans.
Reaves is the second player on scholarship, joining C.J. Keyser, to ask for a transfer since WSU finished a season that began with Final Four hopes, but ended with a first-round NCAA Tournament loss to Marshall to conclude a 25-8 season.
"We've had players choose to go somewhere else, but Austin was a little bit of a surprise," WSU athletic director Darron Boatright said. "The rest of them are not. They're hunting minutes and they want to play now and compete and they don't see that happening."
When reached on Thursday, Reaves declined to comment yet on his decision.
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According to Arkansas Hoops, Reaves has already been contacted by Maryland, Arkansas, Arkansas State, Butler, Tennessee, Oklahoma, Northern Iowa, Iowa State, Michigan, and Auburn, among others. If Reaves transfers to a Division I program, he will have to sit out next season and will be a redshirt junior for the 2019-20 season.
Boatright said he has yet to speak with Reaves directly, but he will soon. Boatright also said that WSU will be "as generous as we can be" when asked if Reaves would face restrictions on where he can transfer.
A 6-foot-5 shooting guard from Newark, Ark., Reaves started in 11 games for the Shockers during his sophomore season. He averaged 8.1 points, 3.1 rebounds, and 2.0 assists, while connecting on 42.5 percent of his three-pointers. He set a school record by making seven consecutive three-pointers in the first half against Tulsa in a 90-71 win on Jan. 29.
Reaves had the third-best offensive rating on the team and on-court/off-court splits showed WSU was at its best (0.18 points per possession better than its opponent) with Reaves on the floor.
Eleven of the 17 players who were on WSU's 2017-18 roster will not return to the team next season. Six graduated, one (Landry Shamet) left for the NBA Draft, and four will transfer (including a pair of walk-ons).
"There's no doubt that coach (Gregg) Marshall has shown in his 12 years here that he's the right man for the job," Boatright said. "I'm just going to worry about baseball and softball right now, I'm going to let him work his magic. I have full faith and confidence in him and his staff."
After news broke of Reaves' transfer, Kaelen Malone, one of the team's walk-ons who is transferring, gave his thoughts on the situation on his Twitter account.
"I love how people think they know everything about us as players and as athletes but they have no idea," Malone tweeted. "There's a human side to all of this and we have emotions. But yet people type behind their phone screen and yet they still pay their money to see us perform."
That leaves WSU with four returners: Markis McDuffie, Samajae Haynes-Jones, Asbjorn Midtgaard, and Rod Brown. That's a total of just 11.2 percent of the minutes played from the 2017-18 season, which is by far the lowest returning mark Gregg Marshall has faced in 12 years at Wichita State (the next lowest being the 2008-09 season when 32.3 percent returned).