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Kyle Wiltjer to Transfer from Kentucky to Gonzaga

This story first appeared at KY Forward and is written by Jon Hale. KY Forward's coverage of UK Athletics is sponsored by Republic Bank.

UK forward Kyle Wiltjer is transferring to Gonzaga.

Wiltjer, who will be a junior in the fall, announced in June he wasconsidering a transfer in order to find more playing time. Wiltjer confirmed a CBS Sports report that had chosen Gonzaga as his final destination Friday via Twitter.

“I feel like in my basketball career I’m facing a make it or break it moment and the primary factor in this decision is transforming my body,” Wiltjer tweeted. “I’m choosing to transfer to Gonzaga because i feel they have a proven plan in place to help develop players similar to me, which has seen great results. I believe with hard work I can maximize my development at Gonzaga.”

Wiltjer, the 2013 Southeastern Conference Sixth Man of the Year, averaged 10.2 points and 4.2 rebounds in 31 games as a sophomore. In his two-year UK career, he averaged 7.3 points and 2.8 rebounds in 73 games.

According to NCAA transfer rules, Wiltjer, a Portland, Ore., native, will sit out the 2013-14 season. In his previous announcement, Wiltjer said he might have returned to UK and sat out the season as a redshirt to increase in strength and speed.

UK head coach John Calipari took to Twitter to react to the news.

“I’m saddened that (Wiltjer) is leaving the program, but if he thinks it’s in his best interest to go somewhere else, I support his decision,” Calipari said.

Calipari thanked Wiltjer for his two years in the program and role in winning the 2012 national championship.

Wiltjer closed his statement by thanking UK fans for their support.

“The last two years at UK have been a valuable experience and I’m very grateful for them,” he said. “Even though I’m leaving the program, Coach Cal and I will continue our relationship and I will look to him for advice. He is more than just a coach to me. I have made many friends here and I plan to come back. My heart will always be in Lex.”

Photo: Kyle Wiltjer/KY Forward