Kansas State guard Cartier Diarra has entered the NCAA transfer portal and will not return to the Wildcats next season, according to several published reports.
K-State coach Bruce Weber confirmed in a statement Wednesday afternoon that Diarra had informed him of the decision, as well.
“Cartier has informed me of his desire to test his pro basketball opportunities with the option to transfer to another school for his final season of eligibility," Weber said of Diarra, a 6-foot-4 redshirt junior. "I’m supportive of Cartier’s decision and appreciate the time he has given this program the last four years.
"He has been a part of many great moments here. We look forward to him graduating this spring and pursuing his dream of playing pro basketball.”
Should he decide to return to school, Diarra would have one year of eligibility left as a graduate transfer.
Diarra played in 32 games for the Wildcats as a junior, starting 27, and was second on the team in scoring with 13.3 points per game. He also led the Wildcats in assists with a 4.1 average, tied for the team lead in steals at 1.8 and ranked third in rebounding with a 3.8 average.
Diarra arrived at K-State in 2016, but missed his first season following knee surgery. He made 22 starts as a redshirt freshman when regular point guard Kamau Stokes sat out with an injury and helped guide the Wildcats on an NCAA Tournament run to the Elite Eight.
He started nine times last season, as well, on K-State's Big 12 championship team, again mostly when Stokes was hurt, but became a full-time starter this season.
Even so, there appeared to be some tension between Diarra and Weber, who frequently lamented his point guard's propensity for turnovers. It came to a head following the Wildcats' loss at Texas Tech on Feb. 19, when Diarra was caught by television cameras seeming to yell at Weber during a timeout.
Diarra returned to the game later and pulled the Wildcats within two points with 10 minutes left. But after stealing the ball on the next possession, he missed a windmill dunk that could have tied the game and sat out the rest of the way in K-State's 69-62 loss.
Both Diarra and Weber downplayed the episode after.
"(Diarra) is trying to play hard and to get (his team) to play at a high level," Weber said, adding that Diarra was displaying "great passion."
Diarra, in turn, addressed the issue on his Instagram account.
"I just wanted to clear the confusion and apologize for making it seem as though my coach and I had an altercation," he said. "Coach wanted me to take advantage of the switch instead of shooting and all I said was that I'm going to make the next shot.
"Coach knows I'm competitor and I give my all and all he was doing was challenging me and that's how I responded."
He went on to mention his EMAW tattoo as evidence of his commitment to the school and program.
Diarra leaves K-State with 864 career points for a 9.1 average. He was second in scoring only to senior Xavier Sneed (14.2) this year on a Wildcat team that had no one else average more than 7.4.