Baylor recruit says he'll go elsewhere

Updated: August 10, 2003, 10:45 PM ET

HOUSTON -- Center Tyron Nelson of Hempstead, one of Baylor's top basketball recruits, said Sunday he will ask the school to release him from his national letter of intent.

Baylor president Robert Sloan placed the troubled program on probation for at least two years Friday and offered to allow any player to transfer after an investigation revealed that two players had their scholarships paid for by a third party and that the basketball staff knew but did not report drug use by players. Coach Dave Bliss resigned on Friday.

"The coach is gone, and I've got to leave, too, really. I don't (have) to, but I am going to. I want to, now," the 6-foot-9 Nelson told Houston television station KRIV.

Nelson, who averaged 26 points, 17 rebounds and 3 blocks a game last season, said two schools he is interested in are Oklahoma and Georgia Tech. He said he will contact those schools and possibly others immediately.

Nelson led Hempstead to the Class 3A state tournament in March, scoring 21 points and grabbing 11 rebounds in the team's 68-61 loss to Tatum in the semifinals. Hempstead was 29-8.

Heath Nielsen, director of media relations for the Baylor athletic department, said Sunday night that he hadn't heard of Nelson's decision.

"If that's so, that's the first I've heard of" to back out of a commitment to play for Baylor, Nielsen told The Associated Press.

Nelson's father, the Rev. H.J. Nelson, told KRIV he supports his son's decision.

"It's not fair for Tyrone or any of the other kids not involved, to be on probation," he said. "We've been hurt. It's like I've been stabbed in the heart with a dagger."

Nelson's father said he will always think highly of Baylor. He said he blames the problems on those who were in charge of the basketball team.

This story is from ESPN.com's automated news wire. Wire index