After reportedly denying a previous request, Memphis has granted leading scorer Austin Nichols a conditional release to transfer, the school announced Thursday.
“I spoke with Austin Nichols this morning and informed him the University of Memphis will grant to him a conditional release from his National Letter of Intent,” Memphis athletic director Tom Bowen said in a statement, according to The Commercial Appeal. “While we are disappointed in this outcome and the timing of this situation, we respect his wishes to pursue other opportunities. We appreciate Austin's contributions to the Tigers and wish him well in his future endeavors.”
Nichols will not be allowed to transfer to any school in Memphis’s conference, nor to any of the Tigers’ 2015–16 non-conference opponents, The Commercial Appeal reports. In-state rival Tennessee and three participants in a November 2016 tournament—Virginia, Iowa and Providence—are also off-limits, the paper reports.
ESPN’s Jeff Goodman notes that Nichols can transfer to a school on Memphis’s block list if he covers the cost of attending the school himself during his NCAA-mandated redshirt year.
Nichols was a highly sought after high school recruit, ranked as the No. 17 prospect in the Class of 2013 by Rivals.com.
The 6'9" rising junior forward averaged 13.3 points and 6.1 rebounds per game during the 2014–15 season. He injured his ankle in a Feb. 7 game against Tulsa and only played sporadically for the remainder of the season.
- Dan Gartland