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Miami Hurricanes forward James Kelly will transfer

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The University of Miami men’s basketball team announced Friday that forward James Kelly has been granted his release and plans to transfer to another school. Kelly is a native from Ann Arbor, Michigan and wants to play basketball closer to home.

“I have made the difficult decision to transfer from the University of Miami,” Kelly said in a statement released by Miami. “I believe it is in the best interest of my family that I continue my education and basketball career closer to them. I would like to thank Coach L for the opportunity he gave me and all of his support during this year.”

Kelly, a 6-foot-7 forward, averaged 6.0 points and 3.7 rebounds in 27 games in his only season with the Hurricanes that included a season-high 18 points against College of Charleston on Nov. 18. The forward was a junior college transfer from Owens Community College in Ohio, where he spent two seasons before making his way to Coral Gables. He was also suspended for three games late in February for violating an unspecified team rule.

“We support the decision James has made to continue his academic and athletic career closer to his family,” Larrañaga said in a statement released by Miami. “We wish him nothing but the best.”

Miami does have some transfer of its own coming in next season with Angel Rodriguez and Sheldon McClellan, both of whom sat out this past season. There’s also the addition of Deandre Burnett as well, who redshirted after he hurt his wrist before the season ever started.

The loss of Kelly hurts Miami’s frontline though, leaving just Tonye Jekiri, Ivan Cruz Uceda, and Omar Sherman to carry the load unless the Hurricanes find another transfer to come in. Kelly would have been a senior who brought leadership to the locker room as well. Hopefully Miami, who finished 17-16 this past year, finds someone to take charge in the upcoming season.