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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


Natyazhko to leave school, pursue professional career in Europe

Gordon Bates
Gordon Bates / Arizona Daily Wildcat Arizona Basketball victory against Humboldt State

Arizona center Kyryl Natyazhko announced Wednesday that he’s leaving school and will sign an agent to pursue a professional career in Europe. The Wildcats are now one below the scholarship limit of 12 because of the transfer of guard Josiah Turner after entering Wednesday one over the limit.

The 6-foot-11, 265-pound Ukraine native feel short of expectations in his UA career. He averaged 1.1 points and 1.6 rebounds in his junior season. Natyazhko has yet to sign with a team but has identified a number of possibilities, according to the release.

Natyazhko averaged 1.7 points, 2.0 rebounds and 0.2 blocked shots per game in 91 career appearances, including nine starts. He didn’t play in 11 of Arizona’s final 15 games in 2012.

“I’d like to thank the fans, my teammates and the coaching staff at Arizona,” Natyazhko said in a UA press release. “It has been a wonderful experience for me to study and play here … As hard as it is for me to leave, at this time I have to do what is best for me and my family and pursue these professional opportunities, but I plan on earning my degree in the near future.”

Natyazhko is expected to finish the semester and leave the school in good academic standing. If he does, he won’t negatively affect the UA’s Academic Progress Rating. Schools can now be banned from postseason play for a two-year score of less than 930 or four-year score of less than 900.

Natyazhko is expected to finish his degree requirements in December 2012, according to the release.

Head coach Sean Miller said he and Natyazhko sat down two weeks ago to discuss his future, and decided that pursuing a professional career was the right move if opportunities presented themselves, which they did.

“All of us at Arizona support Kyryl’s desire to begin his professional career,” Miller said. “As a part of our program for three years, Kyryl represented himself as a great teammate, a hard worker and a good student off the court. We wish him well in his professional career.”

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