UPDATED: 1:42 p.m. Joshua Smith is leaving UCLA after 2 1/2 years with the Bruins.
In a statement released by the school, Smith said: “I have made the decision to leave the program for personal reasons. I have thoroughly enjoyed my time at UCLA and am grateful for the opportunity that has been presented to me here.”
According to Tracy Pierson at BruinsReportOnline, the 6-10 junior center didn’t show up to practice Tuesday and Wednesday.
Smith, the former Kentwood High star who picked UCLA over Washington, has appeared in six games. He’s averaging 5.2 points, which is down from the 9.9 he averaged last season. He’s also averaging just 13.5 minutes off the bench.
The Bruins lost junior Tyler Lamb, who asked and was granted his release three days ago.
If Smith and Lamb transfer immediately, they can redshirt and be eligible to play at this time next year. They would have 1 1/2 seasons of eligibility. Transferring within the conference is rare due to restrictions the original school normally puts in place.
If he were interested in UW, Smith could petition UCLA for some type of hardship to return home. However, it’s highly unlikely the Bruins would allow him to play for a Pac-12 team much less the Huskies.
It’s been a tough month for UCLA coach Ben Howland.
He’s had to deal with the Shabazz Muhammad saga. The Bruins needed overtime to get past UC Irvine in the opener. His handling of star freshman Kyle Anderson has been questioned.
UCLA is 4-2 and fell out of the AP top 25 poll after Sunday’s upset defeat to Cal Poly San Luis Obispo.
And now Howland has lost Smith and Lamb and the Bruins have just eight players on scholarship.
MORE PAC-12 NEWS:
— Stanford announced junior guard/forward Anthony Brown is out for the season with a hip injury. He will apply for medical redshirt.
— Oregon State sophomore forward Daniel Gomis will have season-ending surgery on the left leg on Dec. 11.