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Jay Drew
Jay covers BYU athletics for The Salt Lake Tribune. You can follow him on Twitter @drewjay.

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Ambrosino says academic struggles pushed him off BYU basketball team

After weeks of speculation and rumor regarding the future of BYU forward Agustin Ambrosino, the junior college transfer from Salt Lake Community College, the school confirmed Wednesday afternoon that the affable Argentinian will not be returning for his senior season.

Where Ambrosino will play next is unknown.

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Contacted Wednesday, Ambrosino said he is leaving the program because he was told he would not be eligible to play next season.

"The only thing that I am aware of is that I failed only one class this semester and they told me I can't play next season," he noted in a message sent from his hometown of Cordoba, Argentina. "I found out two days before I had my plane ticket to come back that I failed the class. ... For now I am just working out now with three friends that play pro [basketball] here. And I don't know yet what my next step will be."

BYU basketball spokesperson Kyle Chilton would only confirm that Ambrosino will not be back and did not give a reason for his departure.

That Ambrosino was struggling academically does not come as a surprise; he mentioned several times during the season that classes were difficult for him, partly due to some language issues, and he was forced to miss the season-ending team banquet because a professor would not let him take a test at a different time.

Ambrosino's departure means BYU is down to four big men on its 2013-14 roster, and two are incoming freshmen Eric Mika and Luke Worthington. The other two are Nate Austin and Josh Sharp, who is a bit undersized but an excellent leaper.

Ambrosino was recruited as a big man, and asked to play the four (power forward) position. But he was not the bruising rebounder or strong inside presence coaches hoped he would be, and he was moved to the three (wing, or small forward) position, where he mostly sat the bench behind blossoming superstar Tyler Haws.

Ambrosino appeared in 31 of 36 BYU games and started in one game, but he averaged just 6.2 minutes per game. He averaged 1.8 points, 1.4 rebounds and shot 38.5 percent from the field, 32.4 percent from 3-point range.

Ambrosino started his college career at Gulf Coast State College in Florida before transferring to Salt Lake Community College, which is where he was discovered by BYU. He averaged 9.6 points and 5.3 rebounds per game for the Bruins his sophomore season, earning all-SWAC honors.

Ambrosino is the third player to leave the program early this year, joining Ian Harward (lingering back injury) and Raul Delgado, who is off to Metro State, a Division II school in Denver, in search of more playing time. With Cory Calvert having left on a church mission to Boston on Wednesday and Brandon Davies, Brock Zylstra and Craig Cusick having graduated and/or exhausted their eligibility, BYU has just five players on its current roster who played last season: Haws, Sharp, Austin, Matt Carlino and Anson Winder.

Returned missionary Kyle Collinsworth has been home for a week and at 6-foot-6 will help the Cougars' rebounding efforts, but is projected to be an outside player next season.

On May 13, BYU announced the signing of Frank Bartley IV, a 6-foot-3 guard from Baton Rouge, La., who played last season at Future College Prep, a prep school in Carson, Calif.

"We're excited Frank is coming to BYU," coach Dave Rose said. "He's a great competitor who works really hard on both ends of the court. He's an excellent defender and on offense he can create for himself and for his teammates."

Bartley averaged 19.0 points, 8.5 rebounds, 6.7 assists and 3.3 steals per game at Future College Prep

Also on May 13, BYU announced the addition of 6-3 guard Chase Fischer, who is transferrring from Wake Forest. Fischer will sit out the 2013-14 season due to NCAA transfer rules and will have two years of eligibility remaining.

"Chase will bring a lot to our team," Rose said. "He has deep range and a great ability to score the basketball. His knowledge of the game and his leadership abilities will help make us a better team.

Fischer, Bartley IV and juco transfer Skyler Halford (SLCC) will take up scholarships next season (although Fischer can't play), leaving BYU coaches with two vacant scholarships to fill, if they are so inclined.

Copyright 2014 The Salt Lake Tribune. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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