Sophomore guard Kearney leaving Spartans

EAST LANSING, Mich. — Michigan State basketball coach Tom Izzo announced Friday afternoon that sophomore guard Brandan Kearney, an All-State selection at Detroit Southeastern High, has decided to leave the program and will transfer to another school.

“Brandan Kearney came back from Christmas break and informed me it was in his best interests to pursue other avenues in his basketball career at a place he can play a larger role,” Izzo said in a statement. “We wish him good luck in his future endeavors.”

Kearney was averaging 2.3 points, 1.5 rebounds and 1.5 assists in 16.9 minutes per game for the 11-2 Spartans.

“I’m thankful to Michigan State and the basketball program for the opportunity they gave me,” Kearney said in a statement. “I wish them the best of luck with the rest of their season. I wish my teammates — every single one of them — all the best as individuals and as a team. I just think it’s best for me to get a fresh start and play elsewhere.”

Kearney, known as a strong defender, scored a career-high 10 points in 29 minutes on Nov. 25 against Louisiana. Travis Trice, one of the MSU’s backup guards, was out with a concussion at the time.

Kearney’s playing time increased dramatically four games into the season, and Izzo commented on the leadership and contributions he was bringing to the court. However, his playing time decreased sharply in the last three games after going a combined 0-for-7 from the field in games against Arkansas-Pine Bluff and Loyola.

Kearney played just eight minutes in the last game against Texas, and did not take a shot while having three fouls and one turnover.

Transferring at this time will allow Kearney to be eligible at a new school next January.

The Spartans open the Big Ten season at 2 p.m. Monday at Minnesota on ESPN2.