Kobe King leaves Wisconsin basketball program

Wisconsin's Kobe King (23) during the second half of an NCAA college basketball game against Indiana Saturday, Dec. 7, 2019, in Madison, Wis. Wisconsin won 84-64. (AP Photo/Andy Manis)

MADISON, Wis. (WBAY) - Wisconsin redshirt sophomore Kobe King announced on Instagram his decision to leave the Badgers basketball program.

"After talking with my family and friends I have decided that the best step for my future basketball aspirations, as well as my love for the game, is to immediately step away from the University of Wisconsin men’s basketball program," King wrote.

"This has been a very tough decision for me…however, after spending almost three years in the Wisconsin program I have realized that this program is not the right fit for me as a player and person."

"Being a Wisconsin kid my whole life, I always dreamed of being a Badgers and representing the state every game. I am grateful that I was able to get the opportunity to play for such a great university.

"I want to thank Coach Tucker, Coach Moore, Coach Krab, Coach Oliver and Coach Gard for giving me the opportunity to fulfill my dream representing the Wisconsin basketball program."

King did not travel with the team to Iowa City earlier this week. His announcement comes following Wisconsin’s 68-62 loss to Iowa. Wisconsin led by as much as 12 points in the second half of that game.

The Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel reported King “was frustrated with the direction of the team.” King was second on the team in scoring this season at 10 points per game.

Wisconsin Head Coach Greg Gard released a statement following the news of King’s departure:

“Being a student-athlete in the Wisconsin men’s basketball program is a special privilege and opportunity and I’m disappointed that Kobe has chosen to leave, particularly at this point in time,” Gard said.”

“But I respect his right to do what he feels is in his best interest. I wish Kobe all the best,” Gard said. Wisconsin (12-9, 5-5 Big Ten) hosts No. 14 Michigan State (15-5, 7-2) on Saturday at noon.