Tiger's VanLeer announces retirement from basketball

10 months 1 week 12 hours ago Tuesday, September 11 2018 Sep 11, 2018 Tuesday, September 11, 2018 9:14:00 PM CDT September 11, 2018 in Sports
By: Ben Miglore, KOMU Sports Digital Producer

COLUMBIA - University of Missouri Men's Basketball Guard Cullen VanLeer will retire from the sport, the team announced Tuesday.

The senior guard tore his right ACL in the regular season finale against Arkansas in March. VanLeer would have been forced to miss the first few months of the season because of rehabilition. Head Coach Cuonzo Martin has said throughout the offseason that medical retirement was an option. 

"I'm very thankful for the support of Coach Martin and his staff, my teammates, my family and friends, and Mizzou Nation," VanLeer said in an online statement. "This was a difficult decision, but one that was best for me, my family and my future quality of life. I'm beyond excited for the season ahead and I'm ready to help lead our team to success in any way I can while I work toward graduation and earning my degree."

Martin will hold onto VanLeer's leadership this season. "Cullen is a special young man and I admire his work ethic and his willingness to do everything in his power to better our program," Martin said. "I appreciate his contributions to the team and I know his leadership will be a significant asset for us during the upcoming season."

VanLeer had seen his minutes cut dramatically last year. However, with so many transfers unavailable until 2019-20 and a fairly small recruiting class, he was likely going to see the minutes increase again.

While the Tigers will miss VanLeer's presence on the court, the program will gain an extra scholarship for future use. VanLeer was granted a medical exemption. This allows him to retain his scholarship without counting against the team total. 

The speculation over where that scholarship will end up could continue for a while. The team now has three remaining out of the allotted 13. Freshman Parker Braun would be the most likely candidate, according to Rivals.com. Braun had received scholarship offers from five other schools including Arizona and LSU, but opted to walk-on at Mizzou. 

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