Cully Payne, Justin Cobbs
Minnesota's Justin Cobbs, left, hits the floor as Iowa's Cully Payne controls the ball while falling in the first half of an NCAA college basketball game Sunday, March 7, 2010, in Minneapolis. (AP Photo/Jim Mone) Jim Mone

Cully Payne will complete his college basketball career elsewhere.

The Iowa point guard who missed the final 26 games of his sophomore season with a sports injury has asked for and been granted a release from his scholarship, Hawkeye coach Fran McCaffery confirmed this morning.

“We appreciate Cully’s hard work and contributions to the Iowa basketball program the last two years,’’ McCaffery said in a statement. “We are thankful for Cully that he has been able to make a full recovery from his injury and wish him nothing but the best in his future endeavors.’’

Payne indicated on both Twitter and his Facebook page late Monday evening that he was “ready to move on.’’

“It’s about time that I close this chapter in my life and get ready to move on,’’ he wrote.

In a statement issued today through the Iowa sports information office, Payne said the decision to leave was a collaborative one.

“My family and I felt like this decision was best for me moving forward,’’ Payne said. “I truly ap-preciate the experience I was offered and wish my teammates nothing but the best in the future.’’

Payne started all 37 games he played in during his Hawkeye career. He averaged 8 points and 3.8 assists per game in an Iowa uniform, earning Big Ten all-freshman honors during his first season.

The 6-foot-1 Payne would be required to sit out next season if he transfers to another Division I program. He would have two years of eligibility remaining in that situation.

Payne’s departure leaves McCaffery with three available scholarships for the spring signing period.