Posted by Andy Katz
Arizona freshman Jeff Withey finally got his release to transfer Monday after it was initially denied by the school.
Withey told ESPN.com early Monday that he had stopped asking for the release but then he was "shocked" when they gave it to him. He said the signed release ends a frustrating first semester for him.
Withey said he will likely concentrate on two of the schools that recruited him out of San Diego's Horizon High -- Texas and Kansas. Withey, who originally committed to Louisville but said he doesn't have interest in the Cards now, plans on enrolling for second semester at one of those schools so that he can be eligible midseason of 2009-10.
Withey said there were no stipulations in the release from Arizona but he didn't anticipate staying in the Pac-10.
Withey quit the team in late October after the resignation of Lute Olson and the naming of a new coaching staff led by interim coach Russ Pennell. Withey, a 6-foot-11 ESPNU top 100 player, was the Wildcats' top recruit this fall once Brandon Jennings went to Italy after failing to qualify and Emmanuel Negedu got out of his national letter of intent and went to Tennessee.
"[The fall semester] was definitely stressful,'' Withey said. "I was just watching the guys on the team play on TV. It was hard. It made my love for the game even stronger. Every time I go out, I'm going to give it my all.''
Withey said his last final exam is on Dec. 18 and then he'll field recruiting questions in the hope that he can be on campus at a new institution after the holidays.
"I knew this would be a gamble but I felt like I had to take control,'' Withey said. "I felt that it was the right thing to get off the team early and not betray the school by leaving [the team] midyear.''
Withey said the obvious coaching turmoil led to his decision.
"I just didn't feel like Arizona was my home anymore,'' Withey said. He added that the players on the team have still been good to him and he considers them his friends.
"It's too bad it didn't work out but I have nothing but good things to say about the program and the team,'' Withey said. He added that he has been working out by himself at the student rec center to keep himself in shape.