SPOKANE -- KREM 2 Sports confirmed on Wednesday afternoon that Gonzaga forward Ryan Spangler is leaving the men's basketball program.
KREM 2 Sports Director Tim Lewis had a conversation with Ryan's father Larry, who confirmed that Ryan is transferring. Larry says the Spangler family is very close and Ryan is "homesick," but the decision was still very difficult for his son. Ryan backed up that sentiment in a statement through Gonzaga this afternoon:
“I’ve made a lot of great friends this year at Gonzaga and love it here. But I want to see my family more, and I want my family to see me play more," Ryan said. "I’ve been thinking about it for the last month or two. It was tough, but I’m doing the right thing.”
Spangler played in 22 games as a true freshman this season, averaging 2.5 points and 2.4 rebounds per game. He missed four contests during the season with a broken pinkie finger on his left hand.
Spangler's best game came during the second round of the NCAA Tournament against West Virginia. He matched a career-high with 21 minutes, scoring four points and grabbing eight rebounds. His hustle helped the Bulldogs beat the Mountaineers, 77-54.
Larry says Gonzaga head coach Mark Few sent Ryan's transfer papers to five schools: Oklahoma, Tulsa, Oral Roberts, Kansas State and Arkansas. Larry says Oklahoma appears to be the front-runner at this point, because the school is about 25 miles from where the family lives and Ryan really likes new head coach Lon Kruger. Larry says the University of Kansas has already called inquiring about Ryan as well.
Spangler might not be the only Zag leaving the team this offseason. Jeff Goodman of CBS Sports reported last month that Mathis Keita is also planning to leave the team. We'll let you know once Keita makes his decision.