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April 11, 2013

Marcius departs

Sandi Marcius has left Purdue's basketball program.

Purdue made official Thursday what had become plain as day to see after the center had cleaned out his locker and did not show up at Wednesday night's postseason banquet: That he'd be leaving the Boilermakers to spend his final season of eligibility elsewhere.

Marcius asked last week for a release from his scholarship. Now that it's been granted, he'll be free to secure his Purdue degree in building construction management this summer, then play his final season at another school without having to sit out a year, as is normally required for transfers.

"We have invested four years and significant resources into helping Sandi develop from both an educational and athletic standpoint," Coach Matt Painter said in a release. "Certainly, having Sandi here for a fifth year was in our plans and we anticipated him having a great final year in our program. We wish him the best in his future endeavors."

Sources have indicated that playing time played a role in Marcius' decision to finish his career elsewhere, as the center is believed to be looking for a situation where he'd be in line to be a starter and play big minutes.

Purdue will have options at center next season with or without Marcius, as starter A.J. Hammons returns, along with senior Travis Carroll with young 4/5 Jay Simpson coming out of a redshirt season.

But the loss of Marcius is a blow, as he was one of the Boilermakers' most important players in the final few games of the season.

"He was fabulous," Painter said after Wednesday night's banquet. "He really gave us some energy and did some really good things. It takes a little longer sometimes for big guys, but he made great strides.

"But you wish him the best. If somebody doesn't want to be in your program and they're not happy, it's best you move on and not stay."

Playing with effort and a positive energy struggling Purdue seemed to otherwise lack, Marcius played double-digit minutes in nine of the Boilermakers' final 10 games after doing so only five games prior.

In Purdue's improbable win at Wisconsin, Marcius scored 10 points and grabbed five rebounds in a career-high 21 minutes. In the Boilermakers' near upset of NCAA runner-up, he scored 13 points with five boards before going out with an ankle injury in the second half.

The conclusion to the season was the high point of an otherwise topsy-turvy career for the Croatian, who was signed in the spring of 2010, then redshirted as a freshman after he injured his foot in preseason practice.

As a redshirt freshman, he played just over five minutes per game and averaged one point and 1.5 rebounds. As a sophomore, he started eight games after a strong preseason, but wound up playing an average of just 8.5 minutes, averaging 1.6 points and 2.1 boards. He did end the season on a high note, though, playing well against Saint Mary's and Kansas in the NCAA Tournament.

He opened the season as a starter after closing last season strong and dominating in Italy during Purdue's exhibition tour overseas.

But Hammons, a Big Ten All-Freshman Team pick, moved into the starting lineup in Game 4 in New York City and Marcius' minutes declined sharply from there, bottoming out until his mid-Big Ten season resurgence.

Painter will meet individually with returning players today and tomorrow, discussions that could determine whether Purdue could incur any additional attrition.

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