Vargas to leave UF program

Published: Friday, August 21, 2009 at 8:45 p.m.
Last Modified: Friday, August 21, 2009 at 8:45 p.m.

The short-lived Florida career of forward Eloy Vargas is over.

Vargas will be granted his release from his UF scholarship and is visiting Kentucky this weekend, according to a source close to the program. Vargas also posted on his Twitter page that he "will be takin a visit to Kentucky Wildcats this weekend."

Florida coach Billy Donovan acknowledged before his Ocala tip-off club banquet Wednesday that Vargas was dealing with some academic difficulties. Another source confirmed Friday that Vargas would not have been academically eligible for the fall semester.

"I'm not at liberty to say much at all about him right now," Donovan said Wednesday. "But I think there might be a time where I can come out and say something."

Vargas was recruited heavily by new Kentucky assistant coach Orlando Antigua when Antigua was at Pittsburgh two years ago.

Vargas was a top-30 national prospect out of American Heritage High in Plantation, but never materialized into an impact player during his freshman season at Florida. The 6-foot-10 Vargas missed the first 11 games while recovering fromoffseason ankle surgery. In nine games, Vargas appeared sparingly, averaging 0.6 points and 0.7 rebounds with five blocked shots.

If Vargas leaves the men's basketball program in poor academic standing, it could hurt the team's Academic Progress Rate score. Florida posted a 950 in the APR last March, its first score above the minimum threshold of 925 in three seasons.

Senior guard Walter Hodge has yet to graduate but told The Sun he intends to take an internship next spring to complete his degree after finishing a professional season overseas. Former Gators AlHorford and Taurean Green have returned to take classes and are on track to earn their degrees.

If Vargas enrolls at Kentucky, he would become the 11th Florida player to transfer since the 2003-04 season, a list that includes Mario Boggan (Oklahoma State), Ryan Appleby (Washington), Rashid Al-Kaleem (Division III American University), Mohamed Abukar (San Diego State), Jimmie Sutton (FAU), David Huertas (Ole Miss), Brandon Powell (Marshall), Jonathan Mitchell (Rutgers), Jai Lucas (Texas) and Allan Chaney (Virginia Tech).

Alex Tyus also announced his intention to transfer from the Florida program in April, but decided to return after a meeting with Donovan about his role on the team.

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