Former Brewer High School star guard Chris Wilson has walked away from basketball and classes at Bates College.

The former Kennebec Valley Athletic Conference player of the year has not played for the Bobcats since their final game in the Surf City Classic in Irvine, Cal., on Dec. 30.

“I’ll just say that he’s decided not to finish out the semester and not return either for basketball for his environmental studies courses,” said Dana Wilson, Chris’ father. “It’s one of those things that’s pretty deep, and for him to walk away, there had to be a drain on him.”

“I guess he just didn’t feel comfortable in the environment that was there anymore.”

Bates athletic director Kevin McHugh and men’s basketball head coach Jon Furbush said student privacy laws prohibit them from commenting on the reasons for Wilson’s departure other than both confirming that he was no longer enrolled at the Lewiston college.

“I really want what’s best for Chris and I hope he can get his degree from Bates and move onto the next phase of his life,” said Furbush.

Wilson, a former BDN All-Maine player, switched his major from art to environmental studies during his sophomore year.

Wilson started all nine of the games he played for Bates as point guard this season. He scored 10 points in his final game and was named to the Surf City Classic all-tournament team. Earlier this season, he was named MVP of the Paul Bunyan Classic in Bangor after leading his Bobcats to the tourney championship against host team Husson University.

Wilson was the team’s second-leading scorer with 12.9 points per game and the team leader in assists with 37 in nine games. He had been a three-year starter and also started some games as a freshman.

Bates has won five straight games to improve its record to 12-10 and clinch a playoff spot in the New England Small College Athletic Conference tournament.

Albany softball first; Maine fifth

The University at Albany, which has won three of the last five America East softball titles, has been picked by conference coaches to win the 2010 title after finishing as runner-up last year.

Albany garnered three first-place votes out of six and 32 total points. The Maine Black Bears were fifth with 15 points.

Boston University, which also received three first-place votes Thursday, was second with 31 points; Stony Brook University, which got the other first-place vote, had 30 points; and University of Maryland Baltimore County was fourth with 19. The University of Hartford (14) and Binghamton University (six) round out the seven-team preseason poll.

Conference coaches may not vote for their own teams in the preseason poll.

USM Huskies think pink

The University of Southern Maine athletic department will host a “Think Pink” charitable event Saturday to help raise awareness and contributions for breast cancer research and prevention.

As part of the day’s events, the USM women’s and men’s basketball teams will host Rhode Island College in Little East Conference games at 1 and 3 p.m., respectively. Also Saturday, the USM men’s and women’s indoor track and field teams will host the Little East Conference/Alliance Championship at noon and the men’s hockey team will take on Tufts University at 4 p.m.

Besides raffles, foul shot contests, and 3-point field goal pledges, the athletic department will also host a brunch for alumni, family and friends from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. at the Alumni Reception Center in the Costello Sports Complex. Registration is $10 per person and proceeds will be donated to Making Strides Against Breast Cancer. Contact Meredith Bickford at 780-5997 or for more information or reservations.