Archive for Tuesday, April 5, 2005

Galindo opts to leave KU basketball behind

April 5, 2005


Alex Galindo has decided to leave Kansas University after one season to play basketball closer to his native Puerto Rico.

"I feel I need a change of scenery to get closer to home," Galindo, KU's 6-foot-7 freshman guard/forward from Mayaguez, said Monday in announcing his plans to transfer to an unnamed school -- possibly Florida International -- at the end of the semester.

"I need a red-shirt year to get stronger and to develop my game. My mind is still open to where I will go, but hopefully it will be resolved in the next few weeks."

Galindo, who averaged 4.3 points and 1.7 boards while playing in 23 games, indeed has made it clear he's itching to play nearer to Puerto Rico.

"I do know he made a deal of it that he'd like to get back closer to his roots, which is understandable," KU coach Bill Self said, indicating walk-on Christian Moody would be awarded Galindo's scholarship.

Galindo's mom, Socorro, said her son's only problem with KU was the location.

"It's not anything to analyze. He doesn't have problems with the coaches or players. He doesn't have any bad feelings. He's just not happy," Socorro said. "I do know he misses (home).

"It was hard, real expensive (to visit)," she added. "If he goes to a Florida school, it will be a lot easier.

"It's a great university and program, but he wasn't happy. A lot of things could have influenced him wanting to leave. There's not the Latin atmosphere there he was accustomed to."

Galindo, who played two years of high school ball at St. Benedict's in Newark, N.J., may transfer to Florida International, in Miami, to play for coach Sergio Rouco, a friend who was instrumental in bringing him to the U.S. The University of Florida is another possibility.

"He has to analyze schools, see who has spots available and make trips and do recruiting again," Socorro said.

Self said he would continue recruiting, even though Moody will get the last scholarship.

KU's coach said Monday that all of his returning players had said they'd be back, including J.R. Giddens and Russell Robinson, subjects of NBA and transfer rumors.

"We are full. We'll continue recruiting guys, but we don't anticipate anybody leaving," Self said.

Self is thrilled to be able to reward Moody, a walk-on who was a starter this past season.

"That was the whole deal all along. We needed one to become available to give Christian a scholarship," Self said. "One has become available, which Christian has earned."

Self said he learned of Galindo's unhappiness after the players returned from spring break. Wednesday, before leaving for the Final Four, Self told Galindo to think about it over the weekend.

"I think personally it's a good decision," Self said. "We are not desperate like we were last year (when David Padgett announced sudden transfer). Last year, we were trying to fill some voids."

Self stressed he didn't like to see players leave, but it was part of the game.

"This is the first kid I've recruited it happened (to at Kansas)," Self said. "It's the nature of the business. It's going to happen again. I don't want it to happen, but he's gotten an opportunity to have an impact. He knows there's certain things we expect. He chose not to be a part of that. I do think this ... Christian Moody deserves a scholarship."

He will miss Galindo.

"He's a nice kid," Self said. "We enjoyed Alex this past year. Losing his summer to a broken wrist, and over a month of preseason workouts due to a pulled groin, certainly slowed his development. We are very appreciative of Alex's efforts throughout the season we wish him nothing but success in his future endeavors."

And Galindo will miss KU.

"I enjoyed my freshman year," Galindo said. "It had its ups and downs, but overall it was a learning experience. I wish Kansas and its fans nothing but success."

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