I didn’t want to keep tweeting about it and answering all the questions I’ve received so I’ll tell you what I have been told by sources close to the situation.
1. Austin Nichols hasn’t played nor practiced basketball but twice since his injury back in the spring. He doesn’t want to play basketball anymore. He wants to enjoy college life and hangout with his friends.
2. Austin was dating a girl who is a cheerleader at Memphis and they recently broke up. Apparently it was emotionally rough for him. Austin didn’t want to keep seeing her at games. There were people who were willing to work that out (Let’s face it, this is college basketball. It’s a money game.). However Austin didn’t want that to happen to her so was willing just to stop playing ball (chivalry is not dead).
3. Austin’s parents have invested a lot of time and money over the years to see Austin become successful in basketball. They know he can become an NBA player. He is currently on track to become an NBA player out of Memphis. When Nichols’ parents knew Austin’s desire to play was waning, they offered him the idea to transfer and get away from his distractions. They didn’t want him to squander his (nor their) opportunity for a big payday.
4. Josh has raised Austin’s NBA stock prior to his injury. Pastner has Austin on track to graduate in 3 years and he would have gone to the NBA after this upcoming season. Austin wasn’t happy with that and just informed Josh this summer that he wanted to enjoy college.
5. Since all of this took place during the summer, all of these events led Austin’s family to talk to Austin and they decided recently as 10 or do days ago to transfer. By transferring his parents said he could get away from his ex and get back to focusing on basketball. Once they informed Josh, he went to work to do everything he could to convince him transferring wasn’t necessary. (Clarification: Austin didn’t tell or ask Josh.) However, the decision had already been made. Austin’s father is now doing the talking. It really isn’t Pastner’s place to comment on Austin’s personal decisions so he isn’t doing that. Also the Nichols’ family hasn’t been disappointed in Pastner and his relations with them.
6. When Nichols family requested Austin’s release and transfer the school denied it today. Nichols father is unhappy with that decision, went to media and let everyone know what happened. Clearly his father isn’t going to open up and talk about Austin’s personal business either. Hopefully Austin will open up and talk about this but I doubt that will happen either.
If you think this is about Josh Pastner, you certainly have the right to believe what you want. I would caution you to ask questions and examine why Austin or anyone would transfer right before camp starts, without having any interaction with the team during the offseason, and knowing that he would have to sit out a year before playing ball again. Had there been a big blowup or what have you, that’s understandable, but none of that happened. If there was displeasure with the staff, a player wouldn’t typically wait until summer workouts before transferring, especially since there was nothing happens in the offseason.
That’s all I’ve been told. Just passing it along.
It is unfortunate because most other transfers out have been related to Josh and the jury of public opinion on him is quite troubling. This will not look good for him and already people are on Josh’s case as if he did this. Josh may need a bench coach, but he needs a PR team worse!
This really isn’t anyone’s fault completely. It’s jut a series of unfortunate happenings and a case of reality that has led the situation to Austin’s abrupt departure today.