UCLA center Jelani McCoy, the school's career leader in blocked shots, quit the team Sunday, citing "intense media scrutiny" in the past several months.
McCoy, a junior, was suspended for violation of athletic department policies and team rules in late September and reinstated to playing status in late December.School officials never specified what those violations were. News reports indicated that he was suspended for using marijuana.
"McCoy stated that the intensive media scrutiny and pressure that he has endured for many months has exacted a toll on himself and his family which was proving disruptive to his ability to concentrate on playing basketball," a UCLA statement said.
McCoy played in 15 games this season, averaging 9.9 points and 7.1 rebounds off the bench for the No. 9 Bruins. He had four points and three rebounds in a season-low 13 minutes during UCLA's 87-84 victory over California on Saturday.
"It's getting old, I'll say that," McCoy said after sitting out the final 12:45 of the game. "It's getting real old. I want to compete, and when you don't get the opportunity, it's human nature not to be happy."
When asked if he would consider quitting the team because of a lack of playing time, McCoy replied: "No, I'm not a quitter."
UCLA coach Steve Lavin said after Saturday's game that he had "heard nothing that would lead me to believe (McCoy's) going to leave the team."
It was expected that McCoy would eventually become a starter after he returned to the team, but that never happened. Instead, Lavin went with freshmen guards Baron Davis and Earl Watson along with seniors Toby Bailey, J.R. Henderson and Kris Johnson.
McCoy will remain at UCLA as a full-time student for the rest of the academic year. He will not make any other comment about his resignation, the statement said.
McCoy's departure depletes an already thin UCLA bench, making an NCAA tournament run, even more difficult for the Bruins (19-5, 9-4 Pacific-10 Conference).
McCoy averaged 10.9 points and 6.5 rebounds while blocking 61 shots in helping UCLA win a third straight Pac-10 championship last season. The Bruins went 24-8 and reached came within one win of reaching the Final Four.
As a freshman two years ago, McCoy averaged 10.2 points and 6.9 rebounds and blocked a school-record 102 shots.
McCoy was a first-stringer as both a freshman and sophomore.