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Sunday September 26th

UNC's Morrison To Transfer After Spring Semester

North Carolina guard Brian Morrison is the second Tar Heel to transfer this season, though he is undecided where he will go.

North Carolina's Brian Morrison, a sophomore guard on the men's basketball team, announced Monday he will transfer to an undetermined school. The transfer marks the season's second and leaves the Tar Heels with three scholarship upperclassmen on next year's team after an 8-20 season.

Jonathan Holmes and Will Johnson will be seniors and Adam Boone, now the only remaining member from his recruiting class, will be a junior. Redshirt freshman Neil Fingleton transferred to Holy Cross during Winter Break.

"This was a very difficult decision for me to make, but I believe it is best if I pursue another school to finish my collegiate basketball career," Morrison said in a released statement. "Despite some speculation, this is a decision I made only this week while I was on Spring Break as I had time to think what was best for me.

"I don't want people to make judgments about the coaches, my academics, the University or my feelings for Carolina basketball. I just think I will be more successful if I move on to another situation. I appreciate Coach (Matt) Doherty's willingness to help me find another school."

Morrison started four games as a sophomore, but his erratic ball-handling prevented him from getting consistent minutes off the bench. He scored a career-high 21 points in 23 minutes in UNC's first win against Georgia Tech but followed the performance with seven turnovers in 21 minutes at Kentucky. He compiled 73 assists and 62 turnovers in 2001-02 while averaging 7.1 points on 33.9 percent shooting. He led the team in 3-point field goals with 42 and scored in double figures 10 times.

"Brian and I met (Sunday) night and agreed it was in his best interest to find another opportunity for him to finish his college career," Doherty said in the release. "I am disappointed Brian will be leaving UNC, but I understand it is best in this situation.

"I told him my staff and I will do everything we can to make sure he lands at a school where he will have the best chance to play and improve as a basketball player. Brian is a terrific person and tremendous athlete. We'll miss his athleticism, his ability to take the ball to the basket and his long-range shooting, but we'll miss him as a teammate even more."

Prior to Fingleton, the last player to transfer from UNC was Larry Davis to South Carolina in 1994. Neither Morrison, from Redmond, Wash., nor his parents wanted to comment further. He plans to finish the spring semester and possibly stay in Chapel Hill for summer school and basketball camp.

Before the Jan. 31 Duke game, Doherty expressed concern for Morrison, who played two minutes at Clemson as Boone and Melvin Scott combined for 40 points, seven assists and one turnover.

"I feel bad for him," Doherty said then. "He's a very gifted, talented basketball player. More than ever, we've stressed to take care of the basketball, getting good shots and executing.

"We were playing well without him, and he's got to take care of the basketball and make better decisions. He knows that. I tell him that in practice. That was a decision where I didn't have to play somebody who's not going to take care of the basketball.

"You don't win games by throwing the ball away, so players will have to make adjustments or they won't play. He knows that. He knows that."

The Sports Editor can be reached at sports@unc.edu.

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