Stepheson To Transfer Due to Family Illness

CHAPEL HILL--Alex Stepheson, a rising junior power forward for the University of North Carolina men?s basketball team, will transfer in order to be closer to his family in California due to several health concerns.

"My family is dealing with some health challenges at this time and as a result I have made the decision to transfer to be closer to home," says Stepheson. "The two years I have spent as a Tar Heel have been great. My teammates, Coach Williams and his staff and the whole Carolina family are the best. I wish to thank the UNC fans for all their support and encouragement. I am grateful for the opportunity I had to be a Tar Heel and I wish the program the best in the future."

The Los Angeles, Calif., native scored 237 points, grabbed 252 rebounds and blocked 45 shots in 75 games as a Tar Heel. His career highs included 12 points against Mount St. Mary's and 11 rebounds against Boston College. This past season he was tied for fourth on the squad in rebounding at 4.5 per game and was third in blocked shots with 33. He made 26 of his last 35 shots from the floor (74.3 percent).

"I am extremely, extremely disappointed but I feel so great about Alex that I understand his decision to transfer," says head coach Roy Williams. "He is doing this because of health concerns and by being closer to home he will be able to provide the necessary support and help his family needs at this time. He is a wonderful kid. I thoroughly enjoyed coaching him and know that he would have contributed so much more in the next two years. Nevertheless, I have tremendous respect for Alex and know that he will always be part of our Carolina Basketball family. I'll miss him, but he will always be important to me."

Stepheson averaged 6.0 points in the 2008 NCAA Tournament, including back-to-back double figure scoring games against Mt. St. Mary's (12) and Arkansas (10). He was the Tar Heels? defensive player of the game against the Razorbacks and against Washington State in the Sweet 16.

The University of North Carolina has given Stepheson a release so that he may be in contact with other schools regarding a transfer.

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