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AMES, Iowa (AP) — Former Iowa State basketball player Caleb Grill said he has been battling mental illness and regrets what led to his dismissal.
Coach T.J. Otzelberger announced Wednesday that Grill had failed to meet program expectations and was no longer on the team. Grill was the Cyclones’ third-leading scorer and started 22 of 25 games this season.
As part of a social media post in which he thanked Otzelberger for the opportunity to play for the Cyclones, Grill said he had been battling mental illness.
“Lastly, one day when I am brave enough, I hope to be able to share my story about my mental health and my mental illness I have been battling through all season,” Grill wrote. “While everyone was commenting about the hair, or funny actions on the court, it was a way for me to get out of that state of mind and feel like me being myself instead of the dark place I have been in this season.
“If it was not for the love and support from family network back home ... I am not sure I would be alive and I would have made a decision that would have affected so many people’s lives.”
Otzelberger’s statement did not elaborate on the reason for Grill’s removal from the team, and Grill’s message on Twitter indirectly referenced it. He was called for a technical foul in the second half of the Cyclones’ 72-69 loss to West Virginia on Monday.
“Unfortunately, I said something that I regret which has cost me the opportunity to finish out my dream at Iowa State,” he wrote. “I hope that all the players and Iowa State fans can find it in their hearts to forgive me.”
Grill, who is from Maize, Kansas, played at Iowa State as a freshman and transferred to UNLV the following season when Otzelberger was head coach there. Grill moved back to Ames last year when Otzelberger got the head coaching job with the Cyclones.
He averaged 6.6 points, 2.8 rebounds and 1.4 assists over 116 career games at UNLV and Iowa State.
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