Sophomore big man Maciej Bender transferring from West Virginia

Kentucky’s Jarred Vanderbilt dribbles past West Virginia’s Maciej Bender (25) during their January game in Morgantown.


MORGANTOWN, W.Va. — West Virginia forward Maciej Bender, whose playing time waned over the second half of his sophomore season, intends to transfer, coach Bob Huggins confirmed Monday.

The 6-foot-10 prospect from Warsaw, Poland, signed with the Mountaineers in 2016 after attending Mountain Mission School in Grundy, Va. He held offers from Georgia Tech, Arizona State, Providence, Georgia and Ole Miss — all of whom projected Bender as a stretch four capable of shooting 3s and handling the ball on the perimeter.

That 3-point stroke he showed for European club teams and in high school never materialized during his two years at West Virginia, where Bender made only 1-of-9 from long range over 58 games. He averaged 1.6 points and 1.3 rebounds as a freshman, followed by 1.2 points and 1.9 boards this past season.

He lost his role as Sagaba Konate’s top backup following the emergence of former walk-on Logan Routt, who averaged double-figure minutes in the Big 12 tournament and subsequent run to the NCAA Sweet 16. Bender played only 22 minutes across six postseason games.

“We have enjoyed Magic and his contributions to Mountaineer basketball,” Huggins said. “We wish him the best in his future endeavors.”

Bender becomes the second West Virginia underclassmen to transfer of late, joining fellow reserve D’Angelo Hunter. Combined with the departure of seniors Jevon Carter and Daxter Miles, that means four players outgoing with four signees scheduled to arrive this summer — a roster equilibrium that could be temporary as WVU continues recruiting the high school and juco ranks while also reaching out to at least one graduate transfer.

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