Originally posted on Fox Sports Arizona  |  Last updated 3/21/12
Following reports Tuesday that Arizona State basketball's leading scorer Trent Lockett was exploring transfer options, the junior guard released a statement Wednesday leaving open the possibility of returning for his senior season. Locket asked for and received release from his scholarship Tuesday so he could explore options closer to home in Minnesota as his mother battles cancer. "At this time, my energy and focus needs to start now on being as close to my mom as I can while at the same time pursuing career goals with one year of college basketball remaining," Lockett said in the statement. "However, that does not mean I have closed the door on returning next season to ASU. It only means I have to prepare." Though the Sun Devils struggled this season, finishing 10-21 overall and 6-12 in Pac-12 play, Lockett remained a bright spot. He led the team in scoring with 13 points and 5.8 rebounds per game despite missing time with an ankle injury during conference play. While the Sun Devils would like to have Lockett back next year, coach Herb Sendek expressed that the school is first focused on supporting Lockett during a difficult time. Lockett learned of his mother's cancer at the end of last week. "We are giving Trent and his family all of our support at this time," Sendek said in his own statement. "At the present moment, the focus is making sure he and his family know that Arizona State is here to help him. "Trent is a wonderful young man who has been an outstanding ambassador for our university and basketball program and has established himself as one of the best players that I have ever coached." In his statement, Sendek also addressed an epidemic of early exits from the ASU program. In the last four seasons, 11 scholarship players have transferred or been dismissed, including Keala King, Chanse Creekmur and Kyle Cain this year. "The main reason we've had student-athletes transfer out of our program is a combination of expectations around playing time and holding them accountable for their actions," Sendek said. "It is important that we maintain certain standards and expectations and not lower them. Ideally, we want everybody to stay and graduate. But in some instances it's better for them not to stay." Sendek stressed that Lockett's situation was very different from the rest. "The Trent Lockett situation is completely separate from the other transfers because he has a deeply personal issue and we are supportive of him," Sendek said. Neither statement offered a timetable for when Lockett might decide his future. Because Lockett is taking enough credit hours to graduate this summer, he could be eligible to play at another school next season.
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