Morgan to transfer after dismissal

LOS ANGELES -- UCLA dismissed sophomore center J'mison Morgan from the basketball team on Tuesday, making him the second player to leave this season.

Morgan will transfer to another school closer to his Dallas home. He'll have two years of eligibility remaining after sitting out a year.

The 6-foot-10 center played in 40 games over the past two seasons as a reserve with the Bruins. He averaged 2.1 points and 1.1 rebounds, less than the Bruins expected when they recruited him.

Morgan was suspended for one game earlier this month for missing a team meeting, and he didn't play in UCLA's two Pac-10 tournament games. He also missed seven games recovering from a partially torn quadriceps and struggled with conditioning throughout the season.

"I decided it was in the best interest both for our program and for him to leave here," coach Ben Howland said on a conference call. "There's a point in time where you have to move forward."

Morgan's departure leaves UCLA with three scholarships available during the April signing period.

Howland met for the last time with Morgan earlier Tuesday.

"What I tried to impart on him is the No. 1 thing he needs to be focused on is his academics," he said, noting Morgan leaves in good academic standing. "That's still going to be the most important thing in the future."

In December, sophomore forward Drew Gordon left the team after he and Howland mutually agreed to part ways, with Gordon intending to transfer. Gordon was the Bruins' third-leading scorer and started six games.

In both cases, Howland declined to discuss specifics about the departures.

Off the court, senior forward Nikola Dragovic was accused of assaulting a man after a concert in Hollywood, although the felony charge was dropped earlier this month for insufficient evidence.

UCLA finished 14-18, its worst record since 2003-04, Howland's first season in Westwood.

Meanwhile, Howland said his top assistant, Donny Daniels, is leaving after seven years to take a similar job on the staff of Gonzaga coach Mark Few. Howland said he won't hire a replacement until after next month's signing period ends.

Howland said Joe Hillock, director of operations for three years, has applied for the women's basketball head coaching job at Cal State Northridge.