Alex Stepheson, a 6-foot-9 power forward at North Carolina who was a basketball standout at North Hollywood Harvard-Westlake High, has been granted his release from the Tar Heels so that he can be closer to his family in Los Angeles.
UCLA and USC are expected to be among the schools interested in Stepheson, who averaged six points a game during the NCAA tournament.
Stepheson, who will be a junior, said in a statement on North Carolina's basketball website, "My family is dealing with some health challenges at this time and as a result I have made the decision to transfer to be closer to home."
Stepheson would have to sit out one season unless he is granted a waiver by the NCAA.
"I am extremely, extremely disappointed, but I feel so great about Alex that I understand his decision to transfer," North Carolina Coach Roy Williams said. "He is doing this because of health concerns, and by being closer to home he will be able to provide the necessary support and help his family needs at this time.
"He is a wonderful kid. I thoroughly enjoyed coaching him and know that he would have contributed so much more in the next two years. Nevertheless, I have tremendous respect for Alex and know that he will always be part of our Carolina basketball family. I'll miss him, but he will always be important to me."
-- Eric Sondheimer