Florida Basketball: Walter Pitchford Will Transfer, Norm Roberts Is Kansas-Bound

March 24, 2012; Phoenix, AZ, USA; Florida Gators forward Will Yeguete (15) and forward Walter Pitchford V (35) react on the bench during the second half in the finals of the west region of the 2012 NCAA men's basketball tournament against the Louisville Cardinals at US Airways Center. The Cardinals defeated the Gators 72-68. Mandatory Credit: Christopher Hanewickel-US PRESSWIRE

Freshman Walter Pitchford will transfer from Florida, the school announced through GatorZone's Chris Harry on Wednesday. Pitchford, who played sparingly as a reserve forward this year and was the afterthought in the recruiting class that brought in Bradley Beal, will look to transfer to a school closer to his home in Michigan.

"It’s been great learning from Coach Donovan and competing with my teammates here at Florida," Pitchford said in a statement. "I made this decision because I need to be closer to my family at this time."

Pitchford's family has had unspecified serious medical troubles dating back to at least 2010, and transferring back home to be near them is an obviously understandable decision. But Pitchford, a player who needed to bulk up and get seasoned before getting big minutes later in his career, will also have a much better chance of receiving ample playing time at a school with a roster less talented than the Gators'.

And his decision to transfer opens up another scholarship for Florida, which was looking at a crunch between the possibility of Beal's return, the potential commitment of Anthony Bennett, and the incoming recruiting class of commits Michael Frazier and Dillon Graham. It's a win-win situation for Pitchford and Florida, and with both player and program parting ways on good terms, this is the sort of transfer that goes down easy.

It is also Florida basketball's first transfer since Ray Shipman and Kenny Kadji left the program after the 2009 season: Shipman now plays football at UCF, while Kadji has blossomed at Miami.

In other Florida basketball news, which we didn't really cover in detail on Monday, assistant coach Norm Roberts is leaving Billy Donovan's staff to return to Kansas, where he served as Bill Self's assistant for one year in 2003-04 before leaving to become the head coach at St. John's.

Roberts, who worked with Self for eight years prior to Self's arrival in Lawrence, was Donovan's assistant for just one year, and will also get a chance to coach his son, Niko, a walk-on at Kansas.

Roberts was the odd man out on a coaching staff that featured long-time Donovan lieutenant John Pelphrey and up-and-coming Donovan acolyte Matt McCall, and it's no huge surprise to see him take an opportunity that makes plenty of sense for him. Roberts' departure should not be a hugely worrisome one — Donovan restocked his staff with those three coaches after Larry Shyatt became the head coach at Wyoming, Rob Lanier took an assistant coaching job at Texas, and Richard Pitino rejoined his father Rick at Louisville in the aftermath of the 2010-11 season — but his ties to the New York City area were useful for a team that is very much away from many of the hotbeds for basketball recruiting above the Mason-Dixon line.

X
Log In Sign Up

forgot?
Log In Sign Up

Please choose a new SB Nation username and password

As part of the new SB Nation launch, prior users will need to choose a permanent username, along with a new password.

Your username will be used to login to SB Nation going forward.

I already have a Vox Media account!

Verify Vox Media account

Please login to your Vox Media account. This account will be linked to your previously existing Eater account.

Please choose a new SB Nation username and password

As part of the new SB Nation launch, prior MT authors will need to choose a new username and password.

Your username will be used to login to SB Nation going forward.

Forgot password?

We'll email you a reset link.

If you signed up using a 3rd party account like Facebook or Twitter, please login with it instead.

Forgot password?

Try another email?

Almost done,

By becoming a registered user, you are also agreeing to our Terms and confirming that you have read our Privacy Policy.

Join Alligator Army

You must be a member of Alligator Army to participate.

We have our own Community Guidelines at Alligator Army. You should read them.

Join Alligator Army

You must be a member of Alligator Army to participate.

We have our own Community Guidelines at Alligator Army. You should read them.

Spinner.vc97ec6e

Authenticating

Great!

Choose an available username to complete sign up.

In order to provide our users with a better overall experience, we ask for more information from Facebook when using it to login so that we can learn more about our audience and provide you with the best possible experience. We do not store specific user data and the sharing of it is not required to login with Facebook.

tracking_pixel_9341_tracker