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Joshua Smith, plagued by weight issues, quits UCLA basketball team

The 6-foot-10, 300-plus-pound junior center did not practice Tuesday and met with Coach Ben Howland on Wednesday.

November 28, 2012|By Baxter Holmes
  • UCLA freshman center Joshua Smith sits in the locker room after the Bruins' 73-65 loss to Florida in an NCAA tournament third-round game last spring at St. Pete Times Forum in Tampa, Fla.
UCLA freshman center Joshua Smith sits in the locker room after the Bruins'… (Wally Skalij / Los Angeles…)

UCLA junior center Joshua Smith has quit the Bruins basketball team, the school announced Wednesday, thus ending his up-and-down career in Westwood that has been plagued by weight and conditioning issues. 

“I have made the decision to leave the program for personal reasons,” Smith said in a statement. “I have thoroughly enjoyed my time at UCLA and am grateful for the opportunity that has been presented to me here.”

Smith has been granted his release, effective immediately. It is unclear if he will stay in school at UCLA or if he intends to transfer. 

A person close to the team confirmed that the 6-foot-10, 300-plus-pound Smith did not practice Tuesday because of "weight issues," which has been an issue for the junior during his time with the Bruins.

Another person close to the situation said that Smith was mulling over whether to quit the team Tuesday, and that he met with Coach Ben Howland on Wednesday to discuss his future at UCLA.

“Joshua is a fine young man who has meant a lot to this program,” Howland said in a statement. “I know I speak for myself and my staff when I thank him for his time in Westwood and wish him well in his future endeavors.”

Smith, a Kent, Wash., native, came to UCLA with McDonald's All-American honors and was ranked by ESPN as the No. 1 center recruit in the country. Rivals.com ranked him as the No. 3 center nationally and Scout.com ranked him as the No. 4 center nationally.  

Smith's production slipped in each of his seasons at UCLA. He played in all of UCLA's six games this season, averaging 5.2 points and 4.2 rebounds in 13.5 minutes.

UCLA has eight scholarship players left: four are freshmen, three are transfers from North Carolina and the other is Norman Powell. 

Smith's transfer follows the recent departure of Tyler Lamb, who announced he was leaving the team Sunday.

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