Bears Center Vander Laan Plans to Transfer From Cal





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Sophomore Nick Vander Laan announced yesterday that he will transfer to an undetermined school after this semester.

The center on the Cal men's basketball team was granted a release to transfer by Cal coach Ben Braun.

"I decided to leave Cal for personal reasons," Vander Laan said in a statement released yesterday. "I've valued my experience in my two years at Cal. However, I feel it is important for me to pursue my basketball goals elsewhere."

When reached at his dorm yesterday, Vander Laan declined to comment further on his transfer, saying that he did not know what school he would attend next season and that he would remain enrolled at UC Berkeley until the end of the semester.

"I've got too much invested in that," Vander Laan said of his coursework.

The 6-foot-10 center averaged 6.2 points on 46.7 percent shooting, while pulling down 5.3 rebounds in 20.1 minutes per game this season for the Bears. Cal went 20-11 this season and lost to Fresno State in the first round of the NCAA Tournament last Friday.

Vander Laan started 21-straight games for Cal this season, but lost his starting job to Solomon Hughes in the final three weeks of Pac-10 play. With the emergence of Hughes and 6-foot-11 incoming freshman Jamal Sampson, Vander Laan's playing time was probably going to diminish next season. Hughes' younger brother, 6-foot-10 freshman Gabriel Hughes, had also shown significant potential in limited playing time this season.

"Nick has requested to transfer for personal reasons, and I respect his decision to pursue his career goals," Braun said in the statement. "We appreciate the efforts that Nick has provided to our program."

Offensively, Vander Laan had the two most productive games of his career in the first three games of his freshman season. He scored 20 points against Texas Christian University in Cal's first game of the 1999-2000 season and a career-high 23 points versus Oklahoma three days later.

A Sacramento native, Vander Laan came to Cal after one year at St. Thomas More Academy in Oakdale, Conn., the same prep school attended by incoming freshman Julian Sensley, the No. 6 recruit in the nation according to ESPN.com.

There were no details released on what will happen with Vander Laan's scholarship for the 2001-02 season.

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