Another offseason of upheaval is under way for the University of Toledo men's basketball team.
Sophomore guard Malcolm Griffin and freshman guard J.T. Thomas have been granted releases from their scholarships and will seek transfers to other schools, UT coach Tod Kowalczyk announced Monday.
Griffin, a 6-foot-4 Chicago native, led the Rockets in scoring with 12.0 points per game last season. He also averaged 4.0 assists and 1.4 steals, both team-highs, and committed a team-worst 123 turnovers in 31 contests last season.
Thomas, a 6-1 native of New Orleans, played in just 19 games after sitting out much of the preseason following foot surgery in October. He later re-injured his foot at Buffalo on Feb. 3 and sat out the remainder of the season. He averaged 4.5 points, 1.7 rebounds, and 1.7 assists per game.
Kowalczyk also said freshman walk-ons Zack Leahy, a Rossford graduate, and Jess Chadwell will not be back next season and are seeking transfers to Division III or NAIA schools so they can play immediately.
"First of all, J.T. and Malcolm are very good people, and I certainly want to wish them good luck in their future endeavors," Kowalczyk said. "We want to thank them for their contributions to our program."
Griffin's departure means the Rockets will lose their leading scorer following a 4-28 season for the second straight year. Jake Barnett opted to transfer to Saint Louis shortly after Kowalczyk succeeded Gene Cross as UT's head coach last year.
That sparked a mass exodus that saw seven players either voluntarily leave or get kicked off the team before the start of the 2010-11 season.
The Rockets welcome eight new players next season, including four transfers who sat out last season per NCAA rules and four freshmen who have already signed with UT.
Iowa State transfer Dominique Buckley is expected to assume the duties of starting point guard, with incoming freshman Julius "Juice" Brown backing him up.
A host of players will be vying for playing time at shooting guard, including Wisconsin-Green Bay transfer Rian Pearson, New Mexico transfer Curtis Dennis, and incoming freshmen Ryan Majerle and A.J. Mathew.
Widgett Washington, a 6-0 guard at Northeastern Junior College in Colorado, could also be in next year's rotation after reportedly giving Kowalczyk a nonbinding verbal commitment, although Kowalczyk could not confirm or deny that Sunday because NCAA rules prohibit him from commenting on incoming recruits until they sign a national letter of intent. The spring signing period begins Wednesday.
It is believed concerns over playing time next season were the primary reasons behind Griffin and Thomas' departures.
Griffin and Thomas could not be reached for comment.
Leahy started nine games and appeared in 30, averaging 4.8 points and 1.4 rebounds per game. Chadwell played in 31 games, making one start, and averaged 1.0 point and 1.0 rebound per game.