Kent's Joshua Smith leaves UCLA basketball program

Harry How

As the young talent of the UCLA Bruins' basketball program began to blossom, veteran players like Washingtonian Joshua Smith struggled to find minutes.

UCLA Bruins junior forward and Kent, Wash., native Joshua Smith has decided to leave the men's basketball program, the team announced on Wednesday.

The decision comes in the wake of his decreased minutes due to the Bruins' crop of budding young talent as well as conditioning issues throughout his career. Smith participated in all six games UCLA has played in the 2012-13 season, and has registered averages of 5.2 points and 4.2 rebounds per game in 13.5 minutes played.

"Joshua is a fine young man who has meant a lot to this program," said UCLA head coach Ben Howland. "I know I speak for myself and my staff when I thank him for his time in Westwood and wish him well in his future endeavors."

Smith's numbers this season were down from a season ago, both in production and participation. He averaged 10.4 points, 5.6 rebounds and 19.5 minutes played in 65 career contests with the Bruins. His up-and-down career in Westwood was plagued by weight issues and may have contributed to his decision.

After starring at Kentwood High School, Smith was a McDonald's All-American and the No. 1 recruit at the center position in the country before committing to UCLA.

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