Stepheson leaves UNC, plans move back to LA to be closer to family

Former Wolverine standout Alex Stepheson ’06 announced his intentions to transfer from the University of North Carolina.  In a statement posted on the university website, Stepheson cited his father’s health as the primary reason behind his decision.

“My family is dealing with some health challenges at this time and as a result I have made the decision to transfer to be closer to home,” Stepheson wrote in the statement. “I wish to thank the UNC fans for all their support and encouragement. I wish the program the best in the future.”

While at North Carolina, Stepheson was known as a rebounder and defensive stopper, averaging four rebounds and just under one block per game.  He boosted his scoring average to six points per game in the NCAA tournament, but did not score in North Carolina’s Final Four loss to Kansas.

North Carolina coach Roy Williams has said he is sad to see Stepheson go but the decision was not a shock after Stepheson missed two games to return home to his family. 

“I am extremely, extremely disappointed, but I feel so great about Alex that I understand his decision to transfer,” Williams  told the UNC website. “He is doing this because of health concerns and by being closer to home he will be able to provide the necessary support and help his family needs at this time. I know that he would have contributed so much more in the next two years. I have tremendous respect for Alex and know that he will always be part of our Carolina family.”

Under NCAA guidelines, a player who transfers from one Division One school to another must sit out a year, but Stepheson is hoping for an exception to be made because of his father’s health condition, as similar exceptions have been made for players in the past.  According to both ESPN.com and the Los Angeles Times, UCLA and USC are the early favorites to land Stepheson.

While at Harvard-Westlake, Stepheson led the Wolverines to the State semifinals, where they fell to eventual champions Artesia.

Stepheson led the Wolverines in three statistical areas, averaging 20.4 points, 17 rebounds and 4.6 blocked shots per game.

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