SALT LAKE CITY — Two more players are leaving the University of Utah basketball program.
Junior guard Carlon Brown has requested and been granted a release. Also, backup guard Chris Hines will not return next year, coach Jim Boylen said Monday night while recruiting in the Midwest.
Brown and Hines join two other Utes who were granted their releases from the program last week — Jordan Cyphers and Matt Read, neither of whom who saw much playing time for the Utes last year.
However, Brown was the Utes' top returning scorer for next year after averaging 12.6 points and the second top returning rebounder at 4.1 per game.
Brown acted unhappy at times last season, and there were rumors he might want to transfer. After starting for two seasons, Brown was asked to come off the bench early last season and only started 12 games.
In a statement released by the university, Brown said, "I am very thankful for my time at Utah. But I feel now it's in my best interest to explore all of my other options. I appreciate the chance to be a Ute, but I think my playing style and skill set may fit better in another situation."
Boylen said, "We appreciate the contributions that Carlon has made to our program and respect his decision to do what he feels is best for him."
Brown was originally recruited out of Riverside, Calif., by former Ute coach Ray Giacoletti but kept his commitment when Boylen was named coach in March of 2007. He started 29 games as a freshman and averaged 4.4 points in 18 minutes per game. In 2008-09, he started all 34 games for Utah's Mountain West Conference champion team and averaged 9.3 points and 5.2 rebounds.
Hines, a redshirt freshman from Houston, sat out in 2008-09 with an injury and played sparingly early this past season before averaging 7.7 points in 17 minutes of action over the last seven games.
The Ute coaches have been recruiting hard in the JC ranks since the end of the season, looking specifically for a point guard as well as big forward. Two players the Utes would love to get are guard Josh Watkins, the MVP of the recent NJCAA Tournament in Kansas, and Stephen Rogers, a 6-8 forward from Mesa Community College, who averaged 21.3 points on 42 percent 3-point shooting last year.