BLOOMINGTON, Ind. (AP) - Injury-prone guard Maurice Creek is leaving Indiana and hopes to resuscitate his career at another school.
Creek is scheduled to graduate next week, meaning he could play for his new school immediately instead of having to sit out next season.
Coach Tom Crean says Creek is looking for a ``role that would provide him the minutes he desires and is accustomed to.''
It's been a snakebitten college career for the Maryland native, who came to Indiana billed as one of the cornerstones in a major rebuilding project.
``In all my time as a coach, I have never witnessed someone overcoming the adversity that Maurice had sustained during his time,'' Crean said in a statement issued by the athletic department. ``His attitude, ability to continue to work and his passion for the game of basketball have never wavered. He has been an integral part of our basketball family and will always remain that in our eyes and should also in the eyes of Hoosier Nation.''
The 6-foot-5 guard got off to a spectacular start, averaging 16.4 points in his first 12 games and scoring a career-high 31 against Kentucky during his freshman season. But the promising start ended quickly in December 2009 when Creek fractured his left kneecap on an uncontested layup.
When he returned to the court in November 2010, Creek wasn't the same. He averaged just 8.3 points in 18 games, starting 13, before getting diagnosed with a stress fracture in his right kneecap in January 2011. Again, his season was over.
Creek had big plans for the next season, but that one ended before it even began when Creek tumbled down a flight of stairs and tore his left Achilles' tendon just before Indiana started practicing in October. Again, he was relegated to bench duty.
After 22 months of trying to get back in shape, Creek finally played his first game last Nov. 9 against Bryant, the same team Indiana was playing when Creek sustained his first major injury.
He wound up playing just 7.8 minutes in 24 games and averaging 1.2 points last season, finishing his Indiana career averaging 7.2 points in 54 career games.
``I want to thank Hoosier Nation for their support during my four years at IU,'' Creek said in a statement issued by the athletic department. ``I am grateful that Coach Crean gave me the opportunity to come to Indiana University. As much as anyone, he has helped me turn from a boy into a man. I feel like I would have a better opportunity for more playing time at another school where I can be eligible right away.''
Creek's departure opens yet another spot on Indiana's revamped roster.
Three seniors - Derek Elston, Jordan Hulls and Christian Watford - are graduating. Two underclassmen, 6-foot-5 junior Victor Oladipo and 7-foot sophomore Cody Zeller, have announced they will enter the NBA draft and intend to hire agents. And sophomore guard Remy Abell also announced that he plans to transfer.
Crean will reload with six incoming freshmen and a second straight recruiting class that is ranked among the nation's best.