Andy Van Vliet has decided to leave the University of Wisconsin men’s basketball program with a season of eligibility remaining.
The 7-foot junior forward from Belgium announced his decision Tuesday on Twitter, saying he met with the coaching staff last week and wants “to pursue my academic and athletic goals at another Division I school.”
After sitting out his freshman campaign — he was ruled ineligible by the NCAA because he didn’t enroll in college within one year of graduating from high school — Van Vliet appeared in 31 games over two seasons with the Badgers. He averaged 2.5 points and 1.4 rebounds for his career.
Van Vliet told the State Journal in September that he strongly considered transferring after his sophomore season.
“I wasn’t into it,” he said at the time. “I didn’t really buy into the whole system, honestly. At the end of the season, I was really thinking about leaving. I was pretty much set on leaving. And then I really started thinking about, ‘OK, is this really what’s good for me? Is it really not my fault, or is there something I could do more?’ ”
An attitude adjustment — “It was not a fun moment to look at yourself and be like, ‘I’m a piece of (expletive),’ ” Van Vliet said in September — led to a productive offseason and Van Vliet entered the 2017-18 season as a starter.
But Van Vliet lost that spot after four games and, not long after, fell out of the rotation entirely. He had played a total of 14 minutes in four Big Ten Conference games when he was called into action during a game at Northwestern late in the regular season.
UW needed somebody to bust Northwestern’s zone, and Van Vliet did just that. He went 4 of 6 from 3-point range and finished with 14 points in a career-high 24 minutes during a 70-64 victory over the Wildcats.
Van Vliet played a total of 13 minutes in the Badgers’ three remaining games. Two of those contests were against Michigan State, a big, physical team that presented a bad matchup for Van Vliet.
“Wisconsin has taught me a lot of things and I have grown and matured because of the challenges and experiences I have had here,” Van Vliet said on Twitter. “My only regret is not being able to finish what I have started, but this school and community will always hold a special place in my heart.”
The departure of Van Vliet means UW now has two available scholarships. The Badgers have been pursuing Tai Strickland, a point guard from Florida in the 2018 class, and coach Greg Gard said last week the staff is also monitoring the junior college ranks and is open to adding either a regular transfer or a graduate transfer.