University of Hawaii guard Biwali Bayles has decided to remain in Australia and pursue a pro basketball career.
Bayles announced his decision to leave the UH basketball program on social media, and then confirmed it in a telephone interview with the Honolulu Star-Advertiser on Wednesday.
Bayles said the move will allow him to help support his family and pursue an aspiration of playing professionally.
“My family is in a difficult position,” Bayles said. “Obviously, homesickness played a major role in (the decision). Initially, I was planning to be with my family, and I felt (pursuing pro ball) is a better opportunity for me and my family, and I’m able to take care of them.”
UH coach Eran Ganot said he is supportive of Bayles.
“I love him,” Ganot said. “We have a really good relationship. He has a great family. All you can do in those situations is support him, which we do, and we’ll root for him.”
In his lone UH season, Bayles averaged 6.2 points, 3.1 rebounds and 2.6 assists. He played in all 21 games, starting 12, and connected on 40.4% of his shots, including 43.2% on 3s.
Bayles returned to Australia following UH’s elimination from the Big West tournament on March 11. He is in mandatory quarantine as part of Australia’s health protocols for incoming travelers.
“It was definitely hard for me to be away from (my family),” Bayles said. “The COVID year made me homesick even more. There were less things to do to take my mind off it. It was definitely tough.”
Bayles is hopeful of landing a spot in Australia’s National Basketball League. Bayles was training with the Sydney Kings ahead of joining the ’Bows.
“I feel I set out and accomplished what I wanted to do,” Bayles said. “Ever since I was a kid, my dream was to play college basketball. I accomplished that.”
Since the end of the season, forward James Jean-Marie and Justin Hemsley, and guards Justin Webster and Kameron Ng entered the NCAA’s transfer portal. In January, forward Manel Ayol opted to transfer.