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March 20, 2012

Lockett asks for release to be with ailing mom

MORE ARIZONA STATE: Get the news at ASUDevils.com

Arizona State men's basketball player Trent Lockett has been granted a release from his scholarship and is considering potential transfer destinations closer to his home in Minnesota after learning that his mother has cancer.

"With the recent news of my mother's illness, I want to be honest with everyone and say that it is in my best interest to possibly pursue playing my final season closer to home," Lockett said in a statement. "At this time, my energy and focus needs to start now on being as close to my mom as I can while at the same time pursuing career goals with one year of college basketball remaining."

After finding out about his mother's condition Friday, Lockett asked coach Herb Sendek for his release so he could look at other options.

Sendek said Lockett told him Tuesday that he's unlikely to return but it's a possibility. Sendek and the school said they were interested in doing whatever was necessary during Lockett's time of need.

"We are giving Trent and his family all of our support at this time," Sendek said in a statement. "At the present moment, the focus is making sure he and his family know that Arizona State is here to help him. Trent is a wonderful young man who has been an outstanding ambassador for our university and basketball program and has established himself as one of the best players that I have ever coached."

Lockett, a junior, is taking 23 credit hours this semester and is planning to graduate this summer. That would enable him to play elsewhere next season without having to sit out a year.

He could have an immediate impact.

Rivals.com basketball recruiting analyst Eric Bossi thinks Lockett would be an asset to any program.

"Lockett has clearly proven that he can produce at the high major level," he said. "He's a wing shooter with decent size and is tough on the glass."

Lockett was a four-star recruit coming out of Minnetonka (Minn.) Hopkins. He was rated as the No. 19 shooting guard (and No. 80 overall) in the Class of 2009.

Bossi thinks he's only improved since.

"He was a good player coming out of high school and Big Ten programs would likely jump at the chance to add him now as he's only improved since getting to college," he said.

Last season, the versatile 6-foot-4 Lockett averaged 13 points, 5.8 rebounds and 2.2 assists while shooting 49.8 percent from the field and a substantially improved 41.8 percent from 3-point range.

Lockett spend part of the season playing out of position at point guard, and then suffered an ankle sprain that forced him to miss six Pac-12 games.

If Lockett transfers he will be the fourth ASU player to do so in recent months, following on the heels of Keala King, who was dismissed for rules violations, Chanse Creekmur, who left to pursue football, and Kyle Cain.

Over a six class period between 2006 and 2011, Sendek signed 24 scholarship players. If Lockett leaves he will be the 12th such player to transfer. Additionally, both recruits who were signed by ASU's previous staff in 2006, but only played for Sendek, also transferred.

If those players, Christian Polk and George Odufuwa, are included, and Lockett follows through, 14 of the 24 players signed by the program over the six year period will have departed prematurely.

The exodus has become more precipitous in recent years. Five of ASU's seven signees in 2010 have already left the program, and Lockett would make four out of five from the 2009 class.

Scholarship attrition has proved to be a serious threat to the program's overall stability, as the Sun Devils have suffered through consecutive losing seasons, including 10-21 in 2011-12, after three consecutive 20-plus win seasons before that.

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