- Associated Press - Tuesday, May 13, 2014

BATON ROUGE, La. (AP) - LSU guards Anthony Hickey and Malik Morgan, along with forward Shane Hammink, have decided against returning to the Tigers next season, coach Johnny Jones announced on Tuesday.

Jones did not specify reasons behind the three players’ departures, saying only that he and his staff appreciated “the contributions they made to the LSU Basketball team and certainly wish them well in their future plans.”

LSU spokesman Kent Lowe said they’ve been granted full releases, meaning they may transfer to the schools of their choice and in certain cases play as early as next season.

Hickey, who will be a senior next season, has played in 96 games over three years, starting 85, with averages of 9.4 points and 3.3 rebounds.

The 6-foot-7 Hammink, who is entering his junior year, has played in 47 games in his two years at LSU, averaging 1.6 points and 1.4 rebounds.

Morgan, also entering his junior year, was sidelined by a major knee injury last February. He has averaged 4.9 points and 3.0 rebounds in 52 career games during two seasons.

Before his injury, the 6-4 Morgan was among the primary reserves at shooting guard. He tied a career-high with 12 points in a victory over Butler last season

Hickey, a former Mr. Basketball as a high school player in Kentucky, was recruited to LSU by former coach Trent Johnson. The 5-11 points guard has scored 905 points in his career, with six games in which he’d scored 20 or more. He had 360 career assists to just 159 turnovers and led the Southeastern Conference this past season with a 2.8 assist-to-turnover ratio.

However, Hickey was also suspended for part of his sophomore season for unspecified violations of athletic department and university policies, and Jones said after this past season that he was unsure if the team could count on Hickey to assume a leadership role next season.

Hickey’s father, Anthony Hickey Sr., told The Advocate of Baton Rouge on Tuesday that his son was informed last week his scholarship would not be renewed for the next academic year.

With Hickey’s departure, the starting point-guard job is expected to open up to several promising new players.

One is Josh Gray, a transfer from Odessa College in Texas, who averaged 33.8 points per game this season. Other candidates to fill that role include UNC-Asheville transfer Keith Hornsby and freshman Jayln Patterson.

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