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Point guard Stokes leaving UH men's basketball team

By Brian McInnis

LAST UPDATED: 2:16 p.m. HST, Apr 26, 2012

Point guard Shaquille Stokes has become the latest player to leave the Hawaii men's basketball team prematurely.

The 5-foot-10 Stokes, who averaged 8.4 points in 30 games as a true freshman, announced on Twitter today that he'd be leaving the program to be closer to his family in New York City.

In a phone interview soon afterward, he said he'd like to transfer to a school somewhere on the East Coast.

"Just to be closer to home, to see my family whenever I can," Stokes said, adding his grandmother was ill. "That's really about it."

Stokes, out of Lincoln High, was the 2011 New York City Player of the Year by at least one publication. But he struggled for much of his freshman year, then closed strong in two games in the Western Athletic Conference tournament.

There was no indication of the move the night before, at the team's postseason banquet. Coach Gib Arnold sang Stokes' praises for sticking through a rough stretch of the season.

"I spoke to the coaches yesterday about it," Stokes said. "I went to the banquet just for the fans. I still love UH, it's been great. Had a great time here, great fans, great atmosphere. Coming from the East Coast, I enjoyed it a lot."

Arnold was not immediately available for comment.

He is the fourth player this spring to leave early, following Joston Thomas, Bobby Miles and Trevor Wiseman.

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