Freshman Kessler announces plan to transfer from Tar Heels

·1 min read
Wisconsin's Aleem Ford (2) grabs a rebound next to North Carolina's Walker Kessler (13) during the first half of a first-round game in the NCAA men's college basketball tournament Friday, March 19, 2021, at Mackey Arena in West Lafayette, Ind. (AP Photo/Robert Franklin)

CHAPEL HILL, N.C. (AP) North Carolina freshman Walker Kessler plans to transfer.

The 7-footer announced his decision Monday in a social media post Monday. That came three days after the Tar Heels' season ended with a loss to Wisconsin in the first round of the NCAA Tournament.

Kessler said he was honored to have played for the Tar Heels, adding: ''Gratitude is all I feel for my teammates, coaches, trainers, administration and staff.''

Kessler was a top-25 national recruit who saw the least time in UNC's rotation of four big men, averaging 4.4 points and 3.2 rebounds. But he came on late with some big performances, including 20 points in a comeback win over Florida State and a near triple-double (16 points, 12 rebounds, eight blocks) in a win against Notre Dame in the Atlantic Coast Conference Tournament.

After the Wisconsin loss, coach Roy Williams said he thought UNC could have a ''really, really special'' foundation next year after returning to the NCAAs with a youth-laden roster. But he also said players ''have decisions to make'' about their futures.

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