By Norm Wood, firstname.lastname@example.org | 757-247-4642
6:46 PM EDT, May 28, 2013
Though he'd hoped to keep open the option of returning to UNC Asheville for his junior season while he explored other programs, Williamsburg native Keith Hornsby now is looking for a different school to continue his college basketball career.
Hornsby said Tuesday he plans to transfer from UNC Asheville. He said St. Mary's (Calif.), Miami (Ohio) and Louisiana State have expressed interest in him. He said he's verbally been granted a release from his scholarship at UNC Asheville, but as of Tuesday afternoon, hadn't received a written release.
Hornsby, a 6-foot-4 guard who is the son of Grammy Award-winning musician Bruce Hornsby, said new UNC Asheville coach Nick McDevitt initially was receptive to Keith exploring other options with the possibility of returning to UNC Asheville. McDevitt was promoted to UNC Asheville's head coaching role in April after 12 seasons as an assistant under former coach Eddie Biedenbach, who left to become an assistant at UNC Wilmington.
After more schools started to show interest in Hornsby, and after news of his visit to North Carolina State this past weekend was made public, Hornsby said McDevitt changed his mind about allowing Hornsby to return to play for UNC Asheville. A message left for McDevitt wasn't returned Tuesday.
"It's very nice of Asheville to even consider (Ieaving open the option of returning), because that hardly ever happens, obviously," said Hornsby, who added he has a "great relationship" with McDevitt and regretted having the N.C. State visit become public.
"(McDevitt) basically called me and said, 'Now that this has advanced to this state, there's no way you could return to Asheville. It just couldn't be done.' I disagreed. I have some great options right now that I have an interest in, but at the moment, everything is kind of in a state of flux."
If Hornsby transferred to a Division I school, he'd have to sit out a season in accordance with NCAA rules, but he'd have two season of eligibility remaining since he still has a redshirt season available. He added he wouldn't be opposed to redshirting in order to learn a new system at a new program.
Hornsby attended Hampton Roads Academy before heading to Mouth of Wilson, Va., where he spent his junior and senior years of high school at Oak Hill Academy, a school known for having an elite basketball program.
At UNC Asheville, Hornsby averaged four points as a freshman in the 2011-12 season, but his game flourished this past season.
He became a starter as a sophomore, averaging 15 points and 4.2 rebounds per game while shooting 37.9 percent from 3-point range and making 92.5 percent of his free throws, which was second in the nation. He scored 26 points in a game against Ohio State, and 23 against N.C. State.
Hornsby, who was a member of the Big South's All-Academic team this past season, said the decision to transfer has nothing to do with academic or disciplinary issues. He hopes to make a decision soon regarding his future destination.
"It was definitely nothing like that," said Hornsby, who added he hasn't had any definitive feedback from N.C. State after visiting the campus. "One thing (McDevitt) didn't want was for the other (UNC Asheville) players that know about this, he didn't want other players to think it was OK to come in and say, 'Hey, I want to check out these schools,' and then just come back (to UNC Asheville) if (other schools) don't show enough interest.
"He just thought me doing this and further advancing as time went on, as far as more schools being involved, he figured it wasn't in the best interest of the Asheville program to keep entertaining this whole deal."
Copyright © 2013, Newport News, Va., Daily Press