LAWRENCE, Kan. – Junior guard Sam Cunliffe has decided to leave the Kansas men’s basketball program, KU head coach Bill Self announced Monday.
“Even though we hate to see Sam leave, we totally respect his decision,” Self said. “Sam has been terrific since he’s been here. He’s been a great teammate. He’s been a guy that has put forth the effort and it hasn’t translated to playing time for him yet. I respect this because the opportunity for him to impact another program would probably be greater now, than it would be a year from now. We wish him the best. We’ll always be a fan and pull for him.”
“After the season I was exploring my options, trying to do what’s best,” Cunliffe said. “I wasn’t for sure if I wanted to go but I needed see it out and go until I came to a clear decision. After going through (summer) workouts with the team and talking with the coaches and my family, we all agreed that this is the best decision for me, to go play somewhere else. I know now having gone through this process.”
Cunliffe (6-foot-6, 205 pounds) played in 15 games during Kansas’ run to the 2018 Final Four as be became eligible following the 2017 fall semester after transferring from Arizona State following the fall of 2016. The Seattle native averaged 4.9 minutes and 1.9 points for Kansas last season.
“I have loved every moment that I have been at Kansas,” Cunliffe said. “Even though I didn’t get to play as much as I wanted to, I have lifelong friends here. I am cool with the coaches. I don’t have any bad blood. I want to thank Coach Self, Coach (Kurtis) Townsend, all my coaches, all the academic people, the fans and everybody whose put time into helping me. I’ve become a better player and a better student in my time here.”
Cunliffe started all 10 games played at Arizona State in the fall of 2016. He averaged 25.4 minutes and 9.5 points and posted his career high with 23 points versus The Citadel on Nov. 23, 2016. Cunliffe shot 40.5 percent (15-for-37) from 3-point range while at ASU.