Head coach Fran McCaffery's talent-laden University of Iowa men's basketball team has been dealt a blow.

McCaffery has announced that junior point guard Christian Williams has asked and been granted a release from his Iowa scholarship. He'll stay enrolled at Iowa through the semester, before transferring.

Williams, 6-foot-5 and 200 pounds, had played in 54 games the last two years for Iowa. He showed some great flashes of talent but struggled with consistency, as so many young players do. During his sophomore year, Williams averaged 2.4 points, 1.6 rebounds, 1.6 assists and 0.8 steals.

Matthew Holst, Getty Images

Playing time could've been a challenge this season for Williams, which may have impacted his decision. Sophomore point guard Jordan Bohanon and fellow sophomore guard Isaiah Moss both started the final 28 games of last season. Brady Ellingson returns for his junior season. He started to emerge last year, scoring in double figures five times and hitting at least one three-point shot in 17 different games. The other guards on the Iowa roster are freshman Connor McCaffery, who's expected to redshirt, sophomore Maishe Dailey, and Cedar Rapids freshman Austin Ash.

In a release from the University of Iowa Sports Information Department, Williams said,

After careful consideration and discussions with my family, I have asked for my release from the University of Iowa. I would like to finish my athletic and academic goals closer to home. I would like to thank coach McCaffery and my teammates for their understanding and support with this decision.”

In the same release, McCaffery was also quoted:

Christian informed me today of his decision. Christian is a terrific young man with tremendous character. We are disappointed that Christian will no longer be a Hawkeye, but the players and coaches wish him the best in his future endeavors.”

This is likely the deepest team McCaffery has had at Iowa. They're expected to play 10 or 11 players consistently. It's going to be a fun team to watch, unfortunately, without Christian Williams.

[via U of I Sports Information]