Yankuba Sima announces intent to transfer from St. John's halfway through his sophomore season. The 6-foot-11 center will be eligible again in December 2017. (Photo by Newsday)
St. John's center Yankuba Sima has requested, and was granted, a release to transfer, as announced by the university on Friday.
The 6-foot-11 Spaniard will have two-and-a-half years of eligibility remaining following the completion of his NCAA-mandated year in residence, and will be able to suit up for his new institution as early as December 2017.
"I want to thank the coaching staff and the administration for all of their support since I arrived at St. John's," Sima said in a release issued by the St. John's athletic communications office. "I enjoyed my experience at St. John's, but right now I feel it is best for me to explore options that will be a better fit for me as I work toward my goals."
Sima, a standout shot blocker over his three semesters in Queens, had averaged 6.0 points and 3.5 rebounds per game during the Red Storm's 5-5 start. However, the emergence of Tariq Owens as an interior presence following the Battle 4 Atlantis; where Sima posted twelve points and seven rebounds against nationally-ranked Michigan State, cut into his playing time.
"We wish Yankuba the best of luck," said head coach Chris Mullin. "I know this wasn't an easy decision for him, but we respect and understand it. He's a good basketball player and a good person with a bright future ahead."
St. John's also has 7-foot-1 Zach Brown, who signed a national letter of intent last month, joining the program as a freshman next season.
*Information from a St. John's University press release also contributed to this story.