Cites family illness, need to be closer to home.
"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," says Stepheson. "The two years I have spent as a Tar Heel have been great. My teammates, Coach Williams and his staff and the whole Carolina family are the best. I wish to thank the UNC fans for all their support and encouragement. I am grateful for the opportunity I had to be a Tar Heel and I wish the program the best in the future."
Well, I hate that, mainly because going to college and managing a basketball career is tough enough. The additional burden of a family illness makes it even more difficult. Best wishes for Alex and I hope with the year off from playing basketball that is mandated by a transfer he can spend time with his family.
On the UNC side, obviously it hurts the depth and I for one thought Stepheson was coming along nicely. I firmly believed he was becoming the defensive presence around the rim the Heels needed to make the defense in general better. With the arrival of Ed Davis and Tyler Zeller, the interior depth should be fine. However, when you count this transfer, Mike Copeland's knee problems and the possible NBA departure of three other players, UNC stands to possibly lose five players off the roster from the underclassmen ranks. In Stepheson's case I think this is a blow to the team, albeit one I think the Heels can adequately compensate for in the long run. And that is not to say he was expendable but with the personnel coming in probably easier to cover losing that the perimeter positions.
Also: Roy Williams statement:
I am extremely, extremely disappointed but I feel so great about Alex that I understand his decision to transfer. 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. He is a wonderful kid. I thoroughly enjoyed coaching him and know that he would have contributed so much more in the next two years. Nevertheless, I have tremendous respect for Alex and know that he will always be part of our Carolina Basketball family. I'll miss him, but he will always be important to me