Even as he began to play more late in the season at Fairfield, Kevin Degnan found himself growing uncomfortable with where he was playing. This week, the 6-foot-8 forward from Pearl River decided to pursue a better fit elsewhere — one he hopes will allow him to stray from the paint.
The sophomore announced Friday that he will transfer and said the university had granted him a release. He will seek a new home, likely at a Division I program, which would force him to sit out next season.
Degnan will be eligible to transfer anywhere outside the MAAC. He said he could appeal to Fairfield to seek an opportunity inside the conference, but that he had no visits set up yet despite hearing from 10 schools.
“I just thought it was the best decision for me and my family,” said Degnan, who will have two years of eligibility remaining. “I feel like by going somewhere else I can find a coach who has a different role for me.”
After playing 21 of 31 games as a freshman, the former Section 1 Mr. Basketball played 24 of 31 as a sophomore. He averaged 3.1 points and 1.6 rebounds in just 7.3 minutes per game.
Degnan had a season-high 10 points in 22 minutes during a loss to Monmouth on Jan. 11, but the comfort level was never there.
“I didn’t like how I was used when I got in,” he said. “They had me at the ‘5’ a lot and I’m not a ‘5.’ That’s not my best position and I want to find somewhere where I can play my actual position.”
Degnan said he envisions himself as a stretch forward. He had success in limited opportunities from behind the 3-point line, finishing the season 13 for 29, shooting a 44.8 percent clip.
Degnan averaged 23.0 points and 12.0 rebounds a game as a senior at Pearl River and won The Journal News’ Rockland County player of the year. In addition to his Mr. Basketball honors, he scored 1,120 career points — good for fifth in program history — and became the first male in school history to earn a Division I basketball scholarship.
Degnan committed to Fairfield the August before his senior year and chose the school over Fordham, Quinnipiac, Vermont and Siena. He said schools that recruited him previously are among those who have already contacted him.