BLACKSBURG With his brutal first season as Virginia Tech’s basketball coach finally in the rearview mirror, James Johnson hit the first bump in the road for next season. The Hokies announced Wednesday that sophomore guard Robert Brown is transferring from the program after this semester.

“Robert Brown was a great contributor to this team on and off the court,” Johnson said in a statement released by the school. “We are sad to see him go, but support his decision to look for other opportunities. We wish him the best of luck and will always be behind him.”

Brown, who suffered a broken foot last offseason, couldn’t be reached for comment Wednesday. He averaged 8.3 points and 2.1 assists, dropping into a deep shooting slump after a hot start to his season.

Brown’s father told the Washington Post that Brown was transferring to be closer to the family in Clermont, Fla.

After the Hokies’ season-ending loss to N.C. State in the ACC tournament on March 14, Brown didn’t sound like a player on the verge of jumping ship.

Asked if he saw any reason that Tech could be better in 2013-14, Brown said: “There’s always optimism. We’ve got a good recruiting class coming in, another year under coach Johnson’s system and with the coaching staff. You can only get better from here. The ACC’s getting stronger but as a team, we are, too.”

Next season Tech loses Erick Green, who led the nation in scoring and was voted the ACC player of the year. It will add five incoming freshmen and transfer Adam Smith, who sat out this season after transferring from UNC Wilmington. The Hokies played with just eight scholarship players.

Brown becomes the third player to transfer out of the program since Johnson was hired to replace Seth Greenberg. As a former Greenberg assistant, Johnson’s hiring was supposed to help bring some stability to the program. But then-freshman forward Dorian Finney-Smith transferred to Florida and top recruit Montrezl Harrell was released from his commitment and went to Louisville.

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