AP NEWS

Local sports: Gonzalez transfering from Saint Mary’s

March 28, 2017 GMT

Highland graduate Stefan Gonzalez announced Monday he is transferring from the Saint Mary’s basketball team.

A decline in playing time was at the heart of his decision. After Gonzalez averaged 9.5 minutes per game in his first 11 games as a sophomore, he played 3 minutes per game the rest of the season.

“It’s tough to leave my teammates and a school that I’ve been at for two years that I’ve created into a second home,” Gonzalez said. “But I want to play, and that’s why I came her in the first place is to win and to play and contribute. Once I realized that wasn’t coming together, it was time for me to move.”

Gonzalez said he let his Gaels teammates know before alerting Saint Mary’s head coach Randy Bennett, who has told the guard he did not want him to leave.

The sophomore said he plans to explore other options at the Division I level, but is setting no hard deadline on making a decision. After enrolling, he will have to sit out a season, per NCAA transfer rules. It will be imperative that he knows what his role would be before picking a school, said Gonzalez, who is expecting to hear from college coaches in the coming days.

Gonzalez displayed potential in his offensive game as an efficient scorer for Saint Mary’s. The 2015 Gatorade Idaho Boys Basketball Player of the Year shot 40 percent from beyond the arc this season after making 52 percent of his three-point attempts in his freshman season, He had a 49.7 shooting percentage from the floor in his Gaels career.

His totals in his sophomore season were 77 points, 20 rebounds 11 assists and 10 turnovers. The Gaels finished 29-5 after being eliminated in the second round of the NCAA tournament on March 18. During their success, Gonzalez said he tried to remain a positive presence despite knowing a month before the season ended that he might transfer.

Gonzalez explained he held no ill-will toward anyone at the West Coast Conference school and just wants a new opportunity. No matter the amount of effort he applied, he said he saw no way of attaining a significant role for Saint Mary’s the future.

“Sometimes things don’t work out the way you want, but it’s time to close one chapter and open up a new one,” Gonzalez said. “I’m excited about my future.”