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Jeff Eisenberg

Slow coaching search causes another Oregon player to leave

Jeff Eisenberg
The Dagger

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When Missouri coach Mike Anderson rejected a lucrative offer from former Oregon athletic director Pat Kilkenny this past weekend, the Ducks lost more than one of their top coaching targets.

That was also the moment sophomore guard Matt Humphrey decided he would transfer.

Although Humphrey enjoyed his two years at Oregon and likely would have played a significant role on next year's team, his father, Darryl, said the "uncertainty" surrounding the program left his son no choice but to leave. Humphrey requested and received his release on Monday and will begin searching for a new school immediately.

"When the coaching search turned sour, that's when we started to think about it," Darryl Humphrey said by phone. "It was something we had to do because of the uncertainty about who was going to be there and the fact that whoever's going to be there was not the No. 1 choice. Matt didn't want to be burn a year of eligibility going through a transition year."

Humphrey is the second Oregon player to transfer as a result of the meandering, mismanaged coaching search that is now entering its 36th official day since Ernie Kent was fired. Fellow sophomore Drew Wiley obtained his release last week and will transfer to Boise State.

If the Ducks don't find a coach soon or at least do a better job keeping current guys in the loop, it's possible they could lose more players in the coming days. Darryl Humphrey said coaches at opposing schools have indirectly expressed interest in his son and other players on the team since before last season because of the season-long uncertainty surrounding Kent's job security.

"We've been hearing from schools indirectly since last year," Darryl Humphrey said. "We didn't put any credence in the talk Ernie might be gone at first, but then when it became reality, it was something that we had to deal with."

A reserve guard each of the past two years, the 6-foot-5 Humphrey averaged 5.4 points and 2.5 rebounds during an injury-plagued sophomore season. Illinois, Notre Dame and Michigan were among the schools that offered the Chicago native scholarships in high school, but his father said he will completely reopen his recruitment in the coming weeks.

"The good news is there are a lot of opportunities," Darryl Humphrey said. "We've got a little bit of time to figure out what to do."

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