Matt McKinney Declares Medical Retirement, Will Not Compete for UCLA Basketball/Volleyball In 2005-06

June 17, 2005

UCLA junior Matt McKinney has declared for medical retirement and will not compete for UCLA basketball or volleyball in 2005-06.McKinney will remain on scholarship through the 2005-06 season and he is on track to graduate in Spring 2006 (with a medical retirement, McKinney's scholarship will not count toward basketball's total of 13).

McKinney's three-year Bruin athletic career has been hampered by injury and illness. As a true freshman in 2002-03, he redshirted in basketball, but did compete for Al Scates' volleyball team. As a redshirt freshman in 2003-04, McKinney missed all of the basketball season with a broken left foot and did not compete in volleyball.

Throughout 2004-05, McKinney dealt with several on-going health issues, including limited stamina and a gastro-intestinal disorder.As a sophomore this season in basketball (his third year at UCLA, but his first season of basketball competition), McKinney was able to appear in 26 games, including a start vs. Boston College in the Wooden Classic, and averaged 6.3 minutes, 0.6 points and 1.5 rebounds. His season (and career) highs were 13 minutes vs. UC Irvine and Western Illinois, four points at USC and nine rebounds vs. Western Illinois.

In volleyball this spring, McKinney appeared in seven matches (23 games), with 3.52 kills a game and a hitting percentage of .329. During UCLA's run to the NCAA Championship game (UCLA finished second in the nation, losing to Pepperdine), McKinney was hampered with a right shoulder injury.

'First of all, I'd like to thank both the UCLA basketball and volleyball coaching staffs, along with the UCLA medical staff, especially Dr. John Difiori, for all their support throughout the season and my career,' said McKinney, who prepped at Santa Ynez HS. 'It's been a very tough year for me going through so many different medical problems and having to fight through them. I've come to a decision, with my doctors and parents, to declare for medical retirement. That is the best decision for me, to seek additional medical advice and get healthier. It's been an honor and a privilege to be able to wear the UCLA jersey during my Bruin career. It's something I will never forget.'

'Because of his health problems, Matt is no longer able to play or compete,' said Bruin head coach Ben Howland. 'It's been frustrating for Matt, particularly this past season.

'We want to honor Matt's four-year commitment to graduate and he's on course to do just that (graduate in Spring 2006),' Howland said.

'We appreciate Matt's hard work, dedication and sacrifice to both the UCLA basketball and volleyball programs. I know this is a tough decision for him and we stand by Matt and his decision.'

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