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Spangler leaving Gonzaga

Ryan Spangler wants to be closer to Oklahoma. (Christopher Anderson)
Ryan Spangler wants to be closer to Oklahoma. (Christopher Anderson)

Gonzaga men’s basketball forward Ryan Spangler has been granted his release and is expected to transfer to a school closer to his home state of Oklahoma.

“I’ve made a lot of great friends this year at Gonzaga and love it here. But I want to see my family more and I want my family to see me play more,” Spangler said in a Gonzaga release. “I’ve been thinking about it for the last month or two. It was tough, but I’m doing the right thing.”

Spangler, who is from Blanchard, Okla., was a football, baseball and basketball standout at Bridge Creek High. He appeared in 22 games as a true freshman last season. The rugged 6-foot-8, 232-pounder made 56 percent of his field-goal attempts and averaged 2.5 points and 2.4 rebounds.

“Ryan indicated a desire to get back closer to home to further his career,” Bulldogs coach Mark Few said. “He did a great job both on and off the court and was an excellent teammate. He gave us a lot of solid minutes this past season. We wish him nothing but the best in his future endeavors.”

Spangler’s exit cuts into Gonzaga’s front-court depth. Elias Harris, Sam Dower and Kelly Olynyk, who redshirted last season, are expected to return. The Bulldogs hope to add at least one forward/post in their next recruiting class. Harris, who requested feedback from the NBA draft advisory committee, hasn’t announced his intentions, but sources close to the program are optimistic he’ll return to Gonzaga for his senior season. The NBA’s early-entry deadline is April 29.

When Spangler missed four WCC games with a broken pinkie finger, Mike Hart and Guy Landry Edi saw limited minutes at the ‘4’ position.

At least four schools – Arkansas, Oklahoma, Oral Roberts and Tulsa – are believed to be interested in Spangler, who had 24 Division I offers coming out of high school. He selected Gonzaga over Colorado. Texas Christian and Tulsa also were high on his list. reported that Spangler will visit Oklahoma this weekend. He would have to sit out one season if he transfers to a D-I school.

After returning from his finger injury, Spangler finished the season strong with career highs in points (12) and rebounds (10) against Longwood. He also had a solid game with four points and eight rebounds in an NCAA tournament win over West Virginia.

Guard Mathis Keita, who played sparingly as a sophomore last season, is also expected to transfer, sources said. Keita made four starts and played 217 minutes as a freshman. He played just 67 minutes in 16 appearances last season.

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