By Rich Myhre Herald Writer
Guard Brett Kingma, a former basketball standout at Mill Creek’s Jackson High School, has decided to transfer after one season at the University of Oregon.
Reached by telephone on Thursday, Kingma said he was granted a full scholarship release by the university this week and he expects to enroll at another school in the fall.
“I’m going to return home to Mill Creek once the (spring) term is done here at Oregon, and then I’m going to sit down with my dad and decide what schools I want to reach out to,” he said. “I’ll take a couple of visits and decide what the best school is for me.”
Kingma said he has yet to speak with other college coaches, but that he is looking forward “to getting a fresh start somewhere. … I’m definitely going to consider all my options.”
If Kingma transfers to another NCAA Division I program, he would have to sit out the 2012-13 season and then be eligible to play in 2013-14 as a redshirt sophomore. If he transfers to a school outside of Division I, he would be eligible to play immediately.
Because he was given a full release by Oregon, Kingma could transfer to another Pacific-12 Conference school without losing a year of eligibility, though he would still have to sit out next season.
Going to another Division I program “is pretty important to me,” he said. “I think I can only reach my full potential by challenging myself, and I think I have the ability to challenge myself at the Division I level.”
There are some top Division II programs in the Pacific Northwest, including 2011-12 NCAA Division II national champion Western Washington University, “and I wouldn’t totally turn my back on (those schools) because I’m going to consider all my options,” Kingma said. “But I probably want to play basketball in Division I at this point.”
As a high school senior in 2010-11, Kingma was the state’s Class 4A Player of the Year as selected by the Washington Interscholastic Basketball Coaches Association. He averaged 30.3 points a game as a senior and was recruited by programs across the country — including Washington, Arizona State, Brigham Young, Pepperdine and Vanderbilt — before deciding on Oregon.
As a freshman, Kingma played in 19 of Oregon’s 34 regular-season and postseason games, averaging 3.1 points and nearly 10 minutes a game. But after playing in all of the team’s first 14 games, he played in just five of the final 20 games.
The drop in playing time “is not a huge part of (his decision for transferring),” he said. “I just felt that the best future for myself wasn’t at Oregon. I want to go somewhere where I feel I can reach my full potential.”
Kingma becomes the third of four 2011 high school recruits to depart Oregon coach Dana Altman’s program, with guards Jabari Brown and Bruce Barron leaving in November. Only center Austin Kuemper remains on the team.
Kingma said he expects to contact some of the coaches who recruited him previously, though “I have no idea which of those schools are still interested,” he said.
Despite the frustrations and disappointments of the past season, Kingma said he is looking forward to furthering his college basketball career.
“Basketball has always meant so much to me, and I don’t think I’m going to let one year deter me from reaching the goals I’ve had for myself my whole life,” he said. “It didn’t work out here at Oregon, but I learned a lot and I got a lot better at basketball.
“And now I just need a fresh start and the chance to play basketball somewhere else.”