By Andy Proffet
Tribune-Star correspondent • Bloomington
Two players are leaving Indiana University’s basketball program while a third is reportedly planning to leave early for the NBA.
IU confirmed Monday afternoon that redshirt sophomore Austin Etherington and sophomore Jeremy Hollowell will transfer.
Reports surfaced late Sunday night that Noah Vonleh, the Big Ten Freshman of the Year, was going to enter the NBA Draft, but there was no official confirmation of that from the Hoosiers on Monday.
In a statement from IU, coach Tom Crean said Etherington had told him he wanted to take advantage of his May graduation to transfer to another program.
“He is going to be a three-year graduate and wants an opportunity to look for somewhere he can have a larger role,” Crean said. “Even though that is his choice, we are going to miss him. He is a fine young man.”
The 6-foot-6 forward out of Hamilton Heights averaged 1.8 points in 53 games as a Hoosier. Projected to be one of the Hoosiers’ better shooters, he shot 37.7 percent from the field and 25 percent on 3-pointers at IU. He missed most of the 2012-13 season with a leg injury.
“After graduating in May, I will pursue other options for my remaining two years of eligibility,” Etherington said. “I will forever be a Hoosier at heart and will always cherish the memories and friendships I have made at IU. Thanks to everyone who has helped me along the way.”
Etherington’s brother, Alex, is a freshman on the Indiana State basketball team.
Hollowell, a 6-8 wing from Lawrence Central, averaged 4.2 points and 2.7 rebounds in 62 games with the Hoosiers. He started 15 games in 2013-14, but was suspended for three games in the middle of the season.
“Jeremy has indicated to us that he would like to transfer to pursue another college opportunity,” Crean said. “We have put a lot of time and effort into Jeremy, both on and off the court, and it is our expectation that he finish strong in school and adhere to team rules. We will be there to provide any help we can give to him to find another program. We hope he realizes his full potential and we believe we did everything over the last two years to help make that happen.”
In the press release, Hollowell said his time at IU made him “much stronger as a person.”
“Things don’t always go as planned and I am looking forward to getting a fresh start and I hope to make the most of that opportunity,” Hollowell said.
If Vonleh also leaves, the Hoosiers would have 10 scholarship players — juniors Yogi Ferrell, Peter Jurkin and Hanner Mosquera-Perea; sophomores Devin Davis, Collin Hartman, Stan Robinson and Troy Williams; and freshmen James Blackmon Jr., Robert Johnson and Max Hoetzel — next season, with three open spots.