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V.J. King will not return to Louisville

King will have the option of turning professional or returning to college basketball as a graduate transfer.

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Pittsburgh v Louisville Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images

On Thursday, Louisville men’s basketball coach Chris Mack confirmed the worst-kept secret in the city: V.J. King has played his final game for the Cardinals.

“I’ve had talks with V.J. since the season concluded,” Mack wrote in a text message to the Courier Journal. “He’s going to do everything in his power to get a shot at the next level through workouts, etc. If that isn’t on the table he will be in a position to finish school, enter the transfer portal and find a new home in D1 for his final season.”

Mack added that King wasn’t asked to leave, but just wants a fresh start to wind up his college career.

A former McDonald’s All-American, King’s three years at Louisville have been frustrating for all parties concerned. He’s played for three different coaches at U of L and seen an equal level of inconsistency on the court.

King’s junior season was an especially disappointing one. He began the year as a starter but slowly saw his playing time and production dwindle. He played his best basketball of the season in the closing weeks, but still finished with averages of just 3.9 points and 3.0 rebounds per game.

I know I’m not saying anything all of you don’t already know, but V.J. stuck with Louisville at a time where the easiest thing to do was to not stick with Louisville. He’s never been anything but the ultimate teammate and an easy guy to root for. This is the best move for all parties concerned (I think), but I’ll be pulling for V.J. next year wherever he winds up.

This move returns Louisville to 13 scholarships. If another were to open up (say, if Jordan Nwora or Steven Enoch were to keep their name in the draft), Mack told us on Wednesday that he would be open to using that scholarship to bring another player into the program, but seemed to hint that it would be more likely that said player would be a standard transfer who would have to sit out next season than another grad transfer who would be eligible immediately.

You can listen to that full conversation here.