Santa Clara head coach Kerry Keating announced Wednesday the NCAA has denied the petition for a sixth-year for senior forward Yannick Atanga. Atanga suffered a season ending injury in the first game of the 2014-15 season. He will graduate in June 2015 with a double degree in French and Political Science and pursue a professional basketball career.
Atanga is ahead of schedule on his ACL rehabilitation and he is expected to make a full recovery.
"While I am disappointed we will not be able to have Yannick in our program next year, I am extremely proud of the fact that he took advantage of his time here to utilize all the resources to the extent of completing a double major – which is an enviable task for anyone," said Keating. "He has made a real impact both on and off the court on this campus. Yannick has great things ahead of him. My hope, like with all our players when they are finished playing, is they are able to utilize the established relationships as an undergraduate to further opportunities here in the Bay Area and beyond for themselves and their families."
Below is a heart felt letter Atanga wrote in learning of the news.
To the entire Santa Clara Bronco community:
As many of you Bronco fans, supporters, friends, donors and families may know, I have appealed to the NCAA to regain the year I lost after I tore my ACL this past season. Unfortunately, my appeal was denied last week after a very long period of waiting. Although I feel that I shouldn't be penalized for making a choice to develop myself into a better player my first year in college when I redshirted only to suffer a season ending injury my senior year, I respect the NCAA's decision. I truly believe that there should and can be better rules and regulations for student-athletes like myself that make the sacrifice to better ourselves as students and as athletes. We shouldn't be punished for things out of our control, in this case, a season ending injury.
I also want to take this opportunity to thank the university, supporters, donors and all the Bronco fans for five amazing years. A special thank you to Coach Keating and the entire coaching staff for being more than coaches for me and my teammates. Over these five years I have experienced a lot of great moments with my brothers on and off the court. We have been through so much together and through it all I have always felt the love and support of this great community. This is not the way I wanted to go out as a player, but I can't be thankful enough for the great education I received here. Graduating with a double major from one of the best academic institutions in the country is my biggest achievement in life. That being said, I would like to express my profound gratitude to all of my professors for always understanding that we had to miss classes for road games and their time spent with me during office hours. I can't thank them enough for not only making time to meet with me, but also all that I have learned.
Thank you again for the great memories Santa Clara, I will definitely stay a close member of this community, and forever be a Bronco! I look forward to the next chapter in my life as I pursue a career in professional basketball.
Atanga played in 103 games during his Bronco career, making 41 starts. He passed Kurt Rambis (93) for fifth place in career blocks with one at Utah State on Nov. 19. He was six shy of becoming the fifth player in school history with 100+. He had 2+ blocks in 27 career games. His sophomore year he led the West Coast Conference in total rebounds (7.9 rpg) and offensive rebounds (3.3 rpg) in league-only games.