Rosario Discusses Reasons for Transfer

Former high school all-American Mike Rosario received a conditional release to transfer from Rutgers, and hours after getting it he spoke to about why he wanted it. He also discussed the school "that I think would fit my style of play" the best as he looks to find a new place to play. He called his time at Rutgers "awesome" and thanked "Rutgers for everything the've done for me."

Sophomore guard Mike Rosario received his conditional release to transfer from Rutgers by athletic director Tim Pernetti on Wednesday, and quickly moved to find a new home, with Florida the front runner.

In fact, that visit will take place Friday, according to a text from Rosario to

Rosario, a McDonald's all-American while at St. Anthony of Jersey City (N.J.), added he was sorry things didn't work out after two years at Rutgers, but still held fond memories of his home state school.

But Rosario said his desire to play in a more competitive program was the fuel behind a decision made after consultation with his family.

"I loved my time at Rutgers,'' Rosario said in speaking exclusively to "I just want to experience more competition, and just be a part of a tradition. It will be a different experience for me because it will be a lot different than being in the Big East.

"That's just a challenge I wanted to take. Me and my family spoke about it, and that's just a decision we wanted to make.''

The 6-foot-3, 180-pound Rosario was the leading scorer in both of his seasons at Rutgers, but the losing took a toll.

He averaged 16.4 points per game, including 16.7 per game as a sophomore, but the Scarlet Knights went 26-38, including 7-29 in the Big East, in his two seasons.

After the season there was a reportedly contentious meeting between Rosario and embattled Scarlet Knights coach Fred Hill. According to a report, Rosario questioned Hill's ability to develop him into an NBA player.

Hill has been told he will not be the coach next season by Pernetti, according to sources, but the need to be in what he perceives to be a more competitive situation led Rosario to continue to push for the transfer.

But in discussing his reasons for transferring, Rosario did not take shots at the program.

"It was just a decision that me and my family came together with and thought it would be better for my future to be somewhere else,'' he said. "It was a great decision for me to make. I thank Rutgers for everything they've done for me; the fans, the faculty, the teachers.

"They did everything they could possibly do to make me into a better person, and I really thank them for the two years that I had there.''

Rosario distanced himself from teammates since asking for his transfer release last month, and there was growing discontentment from teammates about his possible return.

But Rosario reflected positively in on his two years at Rutgers.

"It was just an awesome experience for me,'' Rosario said. "It was just something that I would never think I would experience, going to college, and that's why I'm just so thankful Rutgers has done everything they've done for me, and the fans supported me the way they did.

"But I just thought it was better for me to move on to another place, to go somewhere that is better for me, and my future, and that's basically why I'm going through this process. Just to figure out what's best for Mike Rosario.''

Rosario was granted a conditional release, which limits him from transferring to teams on Rutgers' schedule the next two seasons. It means Rutgers will not release Rosario to transfer to other Big East schools or North Carolina.

Florida is Rosario's leader, but he is not ready to make a decision.

"There's going to be some schools calling," Rosario said. "Florida is one of the schools I really like. That's the school that I think would fit my style of play. That's one of the schools that I am considering.

"I think they have a great coach there. I think Billy Donovan is a great guy, a great coach, and I think with the success they had, they built a tradition there, and I think he's done a great job there. That's why I really like Florida. I love the style of play because it reminds me a lot of my high school.''

Other schools on Rosario's early list are Kentucky, Kansas and USC.

Wherever he goes, Rosario will have to sit out one year under NCAA transfer rules.

"There's a couple of schools out there that are going to try and recruit me,'' he said. "I'm not really sure yet where I want to go, but I'm going to sit down with my family and try and decide where I'm going to go, and we're going to sit down and talk about which schools call.''

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