Smith didn't show up to practice Tuesday, and Wednesday indicated to the UCLA coaches he intended to leave the program. BruinReportOnline.com first reported the news Wednesday and the team later confirmed.
The coaching staff tried to convince him to stay, but Smith ultimately decided to leave and informed UCLA Athletic Director Dan Guerrero of his decision.
Smith, the 6-10 junior center, has had a tumultuous career at UCLA. He came into the program as one of the best post prospects in the nation and a McDonald's All-American. In his freshman year he showed flashes of dominance, while overcoming a weight and conditioning issue.
Last season as a sophomore he struggled and didn't develop from his freshman season.
So far in the 2012-2013 season, Smith's junior year, he has been coming off the bench and his playing time has been reduced.
UCLA'S OFFICIAL RELEASE:
UCLA junior center Joshua Smith has chosen to leave the men's basketball program and has been granted his release, effective immediately.
Smith participated in all six contests UCLA has played in thus far in the 2012-13 season and averaged 5.2 points and 4.2 rebounds per game in 13.5 minutes played.
"Joshua is a fine young man who has meant a lot to this program," said UCLA head coach Ben Howland. "I know I speak for myself and my staff when I thank him for his time in Westwood and wish him well in his future endeavors."
A native of Kent, Washington, Smith entered his junior season with the Bruins averaging 10.4 points, 5.6 rebounds and 19.5 minutes played in 65 career games (24 starts) over his first two years in Westwood.
"I have made the decision to leave the program for personal reasons," Smith said. "I have thoroughly enjoyed my time at UCLA and am grateful for the opportunity that has been presented to me here."