Kareem Canty is leaving Auburn
By Charles Goldberg
AUBURN, Ala. — Auburn and leading scorer Kareem Canty have parted ways.
Canty has left the team for personal reasons and will enter the NBA draft, coach Bruce Pearl announced Friday.
"We wish him well," Pearl said. "Kareem accomplished a lot on the basketball court.
"It was his decision. It's not something we forced him to do."
Canty, who averaged 18.3 points per game, missed the last two games after being suspended indefinitely because of "actions and behavior" that were "unacceptable," Pearl said last Saturday. Canty tweeted Thursday night he was entering the NBA draft.
"At this point we move forward," Pearl said.
Shorthanded Auburn, which has also been dealing with injuries this season, plays Vanderbilt at 5 p.m. at home on Saturday.
Canty had directed Auburn's offense, not only as the team's leading scorer but as the assist leader. He tweeted Thursday night he had decided to forgo his senior year.
Canty thanked Auburn and Pearl on Twitter and Instagram.
"I wanna thank Auburn University for everything you guys done for me and letting me pursue my degree here and play the game I love at one of the highest level," Canty said on Instagram.
"I can't thank coach Pearl and his staff enough for taking me in and embracing me. I love coach Pearl like a father figure. Best coach in the Land...... only the strong survive so again Auburn and coach Pearl and the staff thank you guys for everything."
"Most importantly," Canty said on Twitter, "I wanna say thank you Auburn University for the best years of my life I'm forever grateful Auburn man forever."
Pearl said he knew there was always a chance Canty would turn pro, and has recruited with that in mind.
"We really did know the possibility existed he wouldn't return for his senior season," Pearl said. "He was definitely going to put his name in the draft. We have had to prepare knowing Kareem was going to put his name in, and the possibility that he would leave to play professionally."
Canty had replaced the injured Tahj Shamsid-Deen at point guard early in the season. Pearl said he's not sure if Shamsid-Deen, who has three shoulder surgeries in the last year, will return next season.
"Is he going to be healthy enough to come back for his junior year? That's a decision he is going to have to make with the doctors, probably this spring."
Pearl said Shamsid-Deen is "thinking about a medical redshirt."
Charles Goldberg is a Senior Writer at AuburnTigers.com. Follow him on Twitter: