AUSTIN (KXAN) — Longhorns center and Westlake High School product Will Baker will enter the transfer portal and leave the Texas basketball program, according to a press release.

The sophomore called his decision to leave the Longhorns “one of the most difficult and has been a year in the making.” Baker was a five-star recruit, ranking as one of the top national players in the 2019 class. The Austin native picked Texas over UCLA.

“Playing for Texas was always a childhood dream,” Baker said in the release. “The reason it took me so long to make this decision is because I love UT, my teammates, coaches, staff and fans. I’m grateful for their encouragement and support. I’m thankful for each experience that built character.”

Baker said he is keeping his transfer options open and doesn’t have a specific university in mind. Baker said he will complete classes before the next move.

“My goal has been and remains to meaningfully contribute to the success of my team. At Texas, I wasn’t maximizing my potential. I gradually came to realize that there is another place that’s a better fit, and now I am trusting God to lead me to the right program,” Baker said.

Baker played in 23 games during the 2019-20 season, but made his first major contribution in February against TCU scoring 20 points in 26 minutes on four made 3-pointers. The 7-foot center played significant minutes in the final five games of the season, averaging 2.6 points and 2.4 rebounds.

Baker didn’t play in Wednesday’s season opener against UT-Rio Grande Valley.

“We are very grateful for Will’s contributions to our basketball program,” Longhorns head coach Shaka Smart said. “We wish Will all the best as he pursues his next opportunity.”