Omar Wilkes Opts Not to Return for 2007-08 Season

April 4, 2007

BERKELEY - Junior guard Omar Wilkes, who will graduate from the University of California later this year, will not return to the Golden Bear basketball team next season, head coach Ben Braun announced Wednesday.

'I respect Omar's decision to pursue postgraduate opportunities at this time,' Braun said. 'His dedication and leadership have been invaluable to our team. He is one of the most team-oriented players I've ever coached. He will earn his Cal degree, and I'm confident he'll be successful in his career.'

The 6-4 Wilkes, who is completing his fourth year of college this spring, began his collegiate career at Kansas, spending his freshman season with the Jayhawks before transferring to Cal. After sitting out the 2004-05 campaign, he played the past two seasons for the Bears, starting 58 of 63 games.

'I have thoroughly enjoyed my experience at Cal with my teammates and coaches,' Wilkes said. 'I'll always cherish the memories of being a student and basketball player here. I am graduating this June with my degree in social welfare and feel it is time to pursue other areas of my life that interest me. I want to thank my coaches, teammates, professors, students and fans for their support. I will always consider myself a Golden Bear and will continue to support the program.'

Last season, Wilkes averaged 9.9 ppg and 2.2 rpg, shooting 48.5 percent from the floor and 37.8 percent from three-point range. He scored a high of 18 points vs. Loyola Marymount in the championship game of the Great Alaska Shootout and reached double figures 19 times in 33 contests.

As a sophomore in 2005-06, Wilkes helped Cal reach the NCAA Tournament by averaging 7.6 ppg and shooting 45.3 percent from three-point distance - the fourth-highest season rate in school history.

For his Cal career, Wilkes contributed 8.8 ppg and 1.8 rpg. His 40.4 three-point percentage ranks fifth on Cal's all-time list (61-of-151).

Wilkes' younger brother, Jordan, will be a redshirt-sophomore center for the Bears next season.

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