Phaler cites personal reasons for quitting

Updated: April 17, 2005, 6:06 PM ET
Associated Press

ALBUQUERQUE -- Freshman Sean Phaler says he's leaving the University of New Mexico basketball team, citing personal reasons.

Phaler, a 6-foot-9 forward, became the third player to leave the program since the season ended.

"We are very sorry to lose Sean, but under the circumstances we can certainly understand and support his decision," New Mexico coach Ritchie McKay said. "We wish him nothing but future success."

McKay said Phaler's reasons for leaving were personal and "had nothing to do with our program."

In February, McKay suspended Phaler for one game after he was called for an intentional technical foul in the Lobos' victory against Air Force.

Phaler did not return a phone call about his departure.

A UNM statement quoted him as saying he was leaving for personal reasons unrelated to basketball.

In March, freshman Bambale Osby and sophomore Ryan Wall also announced they are transferring.

Meanwhile, the Lobos received a letter of intent from Australian guard Ryan Kersten, who plays for the Australian Institute of Sport.

Kersten will compete for a starting spot in the Lobo lineup right away, McKay said.

Copyright 2005 by The Associated Press