Austin confirms exit for a Big West school

Times Staff Writer

USC sophomore forward Kyle Austin confirmed Tuesday that he intended to transfer at the semester break to a Big West Conference school because of a lack of playing time.

“I really didn’t see a spot for me on this team,” said Austin, who had played only two minutes this season before suffering a serious back injury in practice last month that has sidelined him indefinitely.

Austin said he was targeting Long Beach State, UC Riverside, UC Santa Barbara and UC Davis -- schools that had recruited him coming out of Pasadena High. He said he planned to visit the schools in the coming days and make a decision by early next week.


He described himself as “a little disappointed, but that’s just how it goes. I’m not upset at the situation. I still love Coach [Tim] Floyd and all the guys on the staff and on the team. They’re still like family. It’s just the best decision for me to move on,” Austin said.

Austin, who is 6 feet 7, 205 pounds, becomes the fourth Trojan to transfer since the beginning of last season because of concerns over playing time, joining Sead Odzic (now with Illinois State), Kevin Galloway (College of Southern Idaho) and Jeremy Barr (San Jacinto Junior College).

Already having taken his last final exam, Austin said he would check out of his dorm room today. He has already said goodbye to most of his teammates and Floyd, who Austin said told him “he hates to see me go and maybe I should be a little more patient, but he wishes me the best in whatever decision I make.”

Austin said he probably would have had to redshirt the rest of this season anyway because of the back injury, which has caused him discomfort while sitting and sleeping.

He barely played as a freshman, averaging 1.4 points, 1.6 rebounds and 7.3 minutes in 17 games. The highlight of that season came Dec. 9 against George Washington, when he played 19 minutes and helped the Trojans rally for a 74-65 victory.

A switch from power forward to small forward did not lead to more playing time in the early going this season, but Austin described the change as “a great move. I think wherever I go next, I’ll feel more natural at the three and still be able to play some four.”