Wisconsin's dreadful week just turned disastrous, as second-leading scorer Kobe King, a sophomore from La Crosse, Wisconsin, announced on his Instagram page he's stepping away from the program. King missed Wisconsin's road game on Monday, a 68-62 loss to Iowa, while tending to an undisclosed personal matter.
"After spending almost 3 years in the Wisconsin program, I have realized that this program is not the right fit for me as a player and person," King said. "Being a Wisconsin kid my whole life, I always dreamed about being a Badger and representing this state every game."
King's undisclosed personal matter appears to have been thinking over his role in the program and whether he wanted to stick things out in Madison. The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reported Monday, citing an anonymous source, that King was "frustrated with the direction of the team this season."
Said Badgers coach Greg Gard after the Monday game of King's absence: "There is really no timeline [on a return]. He is at home, back in Madison, dealing with a personal matter."
Gard on Wednesday issued a statement further confirming King's decision to leave, expressing disappointment.
"Being a student-athlete in the Wisconsin men's basketball program is a special privilege and opportunity and I'm disappointed that Kobe has chosen to leave, particularly at this point in time," Gard said. "But I respect his right to do what he feels is in his best interest. I wish Kobe all the best."
King has been a breakout star for Wisconsin this season, averaging 10 points, 2.8 rebounds and 1.6 assists per game -- all career-highs. He scored a career-high 24 points last month in a win over Indiana, then scored 21 in a close loss to Illinois earlier this month, but his consistency has come and gone as a shooter. His 25 percent 3-point percentage ranks 10th on the team, while his field goal percentage of 45.7 percent puts him at sixth.
Still, the midseason loss of King could be a tough one for Wisconsin, which has lost consecutive games for the second time this season, including three of four leading into a tough home game this weekend. The Badgers face Michigan State on Saturday, and will likely do so with a heavy feature of senior Brevin Pritzl, junior Brad Davison and junior Trevor Anderson filling King's now-deserted minutes.