Reports: Lawrence wants out of Mizzou, granted release

Updated: June 28, 2008, 8:59 AM ET
ESPN.com news services

Missouri guard Keon Lawrence has been granted permission to seek a transfer, according to state media reports.

Coach Mike Anderson said Friday that the school had granted a release to Lawrence, a 6-foot-2 guard who would have been entering his junior season, according to the Kansas City Star.

"The well-being of our student-athletes is always a chief concern for us, and with that, I have always wanted my players to be happy," Anderson said, according to the Star.

Lawrence indicated that he has not been happy at Missouri, according to the Columbia Daily Tribune.

"It's not my teammates, and it's not the fans. That should tell you something," Lawrence said, according to the Daily Tribune. "I definitely don't think this time I'm changing my mind. At this point, I just can't."

Later on Friday, Lawrence, of Newark, N.J., said "I need to be closer to home" and declined to answer follow-up questions, according to the Star.

Lawrence was recruited by former Mizzou coach Quin Snyder. When Snyder left, Anderson talked Lawrence into staying. And when Lawrence wanted to leave during last season after being demoted from the starting lineup, Anderson again convinced Lawrence to stay on.

"I just felt that it would be bad timing," Lawrence said about the possibility of leaving during the season, according to the Daily Tribune. "I didn't want to bail out on the team like that."

This time, there was no talking Lawrence out of leaving.

"I feel by granting Keon his release it's in the best interest of both him and our program. We appreciate Keon's efforts at Missouri and wish him nothing but the best," Anderson said, according to the Star.

Under NCAA rules, Lawrence would have to sit out a year at another Division I school but then would have two seasons of eligibility remaining.