Mickelson leaving Arkansas


FAYETTEVILLE — Forward Hunter Mickelson is leaving Arkansas after two seasons with the basketball program.

Mickelson has requested a released from his scholarship and intends to transfer, according to multiple reports. Mickelson did not immediately return messages seeking confirmation Tuesday. His father could not be reached for comment.

A Jonesboro radio station – 103.9 The Game – first reported Mickelson’s departure.

It comes after Mickelson averaged 5.5 points and 3.5 rebounds a game last season, struggling to make a mark in his second year with the program. Mickelson led the Razorbacks in blocked shots (39), but it was well below his 2011-12 total (72).

Arkansas coach Mike Anderson said after the season he planned to talk to Mickelson about his weight, believing the 6-foot-10, 245-pound forward needed to make some changes in the offseason in preparation for his junior year.

“I thought when he was a little leaner, I thought he was really, really active,” Anderson said. “I thought he was just more athletic. Just seemed like a lot quicker. It just seemed like this year a lot of people came right at him. Came right at him. And he would get a lot of fouls with people taking it right at him. Last year, he’d come from nowhere and block a shot or be in position to block shots.”

It’s not known where Mickelson intends to transfer, although Arkansas State is one possible destination because it is in his hometown. He becomes the third player to leave the program since the end of the 2012-13 season, joining forward Marshawn Powell and guard BJ Young. Both players declared for the 2013 NBA Draft.

Mickelson’s departure leaves Arkansas with only guard Ky Madden remaining from its heralded five-man 2011 signing class. Guard Aaron Ross never made it to campus, while forward Devonta Abron transferred to Texas Christian after his freshman season. Young and Mickelson are leaving after two years with the Hogs.

Mickelson’s departure also leaves Arkansas with nine scholarship players returning next season. Arkansas has signed forwards Bobby Portis and Moses Kingsley, but the Razorbacks have two scholarships available for the 2013-14 season.

Anderson was asked Monday night if the Razorbacks planned to sign any players.

“We never stop recruiting,” Anderson said. “We may sign one at this point in time.”