University of California guard and ex-Jayhawk Omar Wilkes has decided not to return to the Pac-10 school for his senior season, Golden Bears coach Ben Braun said Wednesday.
Braun told the Contra Costa Times that Wilkes wanted to start "utilizing his Cal social welfare degree" and pursue a career outside of basketball.
"Omar's dedication and leadership have been invaluable to our team. He is one of the most team-oriented players I've ever coached," Braun said. "He will earn his Cal degree, and I'm confident he'll be successful in his career.
"I definitely support Omar in pursuing his career. Omar could do a wide variety of things. Who wouldn't want to hire Omar Wilkes?" Braun added. "Omar is a multitalented guy. He appreciates art, entertainment, history. He made use of that trip to Italy (with Bears in summer of 2005) as well as anyone on the team. He took in every museum and all the people. He's a well-rounded guy. He'll be successful at anything he does."
The 6-4 Los Angeles native played one season at KU before transferring closer to home. After sitting out the 2004-05 campaign, he played the past two seasons for the Bears, starting 58 of 63 games.
"I have thoroughly enjoyed my experience at Cal with my teammates and coaches," Wilkes said. "I'll always cherish the memories of being a student and basketball player here. I am graduating this June with my degree in social welfare and feel it is time to pursue other areas of my life that interest me. I want to thank my coaches, teammates, professors, students and fans for their support. I will always consider myself a Golden Bear and will continue to support the program."
Wilkes averaged 9.9 points and 2.2 rebounds a game last season. He hit 48.5 percent of his shots, including 37.8 percent of his threes. He scored a high of 18 points against Loyola Marymount in the Great Alaska Shootout and reached double figures 19 times in 33 games.
Wilkes' younger brother, Jordan, will be a red-shirt sophomore center at Cal next season.
Kansas signee Reed state player of year
KU signee Tyrel Reed, who last week was named Mr. Kansas by the Kansas Basketball Coaches Association, on Wednesday was tapped the state's Gatorade Player of the Year.
Reed, a 6-foot-3, 175-pound guard from Burlington High, averaged 26.4 points, 7.0 rebounds, 5.0 assists and 4.5 steals per game this past season for the third-place team in Kansas Class 3A.
Future KU walk-on Conner Teahan, 6-5 from Kansas City (Mo.) Rockhurst, recently was named Missouri's Gatorade Player of the Year for the second straight season. Teahan averaged 25 points, eight rebounds and three assists his senior season.
Paper: Sutton object of Razorbacks' affection
The Daily Oklahoman says a faction of University of Arkansas boosters are pushing for the Razorbacks to hire Oklahoma State coach Sean Sutton as replacement for Dana Altman, who had the job for one day before deciding to remain at Creighton.
The Oklahoman also reports that Arkansas has decided to hire a search firm to seek out possible candidates for at least the remainder of this week.
Sean Sutton, 38, recently completed his first year as OSU's head coach. The Cowboys finished 22-13 and were 6-10 in the Big 12.
Sutton was named head coach designate at OSU three years ago, receiving a five-year deal that assured he would succeed his father, Eddie. Sean Sutton's contract has four years left at $750,000 a year.
The Cowboys, who return JamesOn Curry, Marcus Dove, Byron Eaton, Terrel Harris, Kenny Cooper and Obi Muonelo, and bring in McDonald's All-American James Anderson, are expected to be one of the top teams in the league next season.
Meanwhile, Eddie Sutton tells the Daily Oklahoman he regrets saying earlier this week he'd be interested in the Oral Roberts vacancy if his son, Scott, was to take another job this offseason.
"I am not going to get back into coaching," Eddie Sutton told the Oklahoman. "I was asked if I would consider helping out (Oral Roberts AD) Mike Carter, and I said that since I have such respect for him I would go over and help him. I just made the comment, which I shouldn't have."
Sutton, 71, retired from Oklahoma State before this season after missing the second half of the 2005-06 season because of a drunk driving incident. He is just two shy of 800 career wins and has been nominated for the Basketball Hall of Fame several times, including this year.