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Arop granted release from Zags

Gonzaga's Mangisto Arop, celebrating a Gonzaga score against Pepperdine last January, has been granted his release from GU. (Dan Pelle / The Spokesman-Review)
Manny Arop, a valuable reserve as a freshman whose playing time dwindled over the second half of his sophomore season, has been granted his release from the Gonzaga men’s basketball team. Arop is expected to continue his career at another school. Under NCAA rules, the 6-foot-6 wing would have to sit out one season if he transfers to a Division I school. “Manny is an awesome individual, a great teammate, a great guy who just wants the opportunity to go play more somewhere else,” head coach Mark Few said in a Gonzaga release. “He’s been great around our team, our staff and my kids, but he thinks there might be opportunities to play more at another place. He’s going to explore those opportunities. We wish him the best.” Arop, who left his native Sudan as a youngster to move to Canada, averaged 3.5 points and 3.8 rebounds as a freshman. He had four points and eight boards in a WCC Tournament semifinal win over Loyola Marymount before suffering a broken foot. Arop was prominent in the rotation, starting eight games and averaging 15.8 minutes in his 28 appearances, but his playing time declined with junior guard Marquise Carter’s emergence over the last 15 games this season. Arop scored 15 points in a win over Marquette and a career-high 16 in a loss against Notre Dame. Those were his only games in double figures this season. He had seven points and 10 rebounds in a victory over Oklahoma State. Arop was 1 of 4 at the free-throw line in the closing minutes of regulation in GU’s 96-91 overtime loss to San Francisco and he didn’t play in the next game against Saint Mary’s. Freshman Mathis Mönninghoff started against the Gaels and in the next two games before Carter took over the starting role. Gonzaga closed the season with 10 straight wins, capturing a co-WCC regular-season title and the conference tournament, before falling to BYU in the NCAA Tournament round of 32. Arop, who averaged 4.6 points and 2.9 rebounds, didn’t play in six of Gonzaga’s last 10 games. Gonzaga is pretty well stocked at the guard/wing position with Carter, Mönninghoff, Demetri Goodson, David Stockton, Mathis Keita and Mike Hart expected to return, and incoming recruits Kevin Pangos, Gary Bell Jr., Kyle Dranginis and Chris Sarbaugh. Midland (Texas) J.C. guard Guy Landry, 6-5 and 210 pounds, is visiting Gonzaga this weekend and former USC shooting guard Bryce Jones, who left the Pac-10 school after separate disputes with a teammate and a resident advisor at his dorm, will visit next weekend.