LSU basketball player Garrett Green, who started 16 games for the Tigers the past two seasons, has left the program and plans to transfer, the school announced Monday.

If he receives his undergraduate degree from LSU on Aug. 5 as expected, Green can enroll in another university’s graduate school and become eligible immediately, per NCAA rules regarding athletes who receive their undergraduate degrees in four years and still have one year of eligibility remaining.

LSU coach Trent Johnson said he wasn’t sure where Green would land, but said he does expect the 6-foot-11 forward to continue his college basketball career.

“It sort of caught me off guard,” Johnson said, “but the bottom line is I want what’s best for Garrett. Garrett wants to go somewhere he can further his studies and play some key minutes.”

Green, who missed the entire 2008-09 season with back issues, would have been a fifth-year senior for LSU this season.

He averaged 6.3 points and 5.1 rebounds as a junior, starting five games and playing in all 32. His top performances came in a 15-point, 13-rebound effort against Wichita State and an 18-point showing against Auburn in LSU’s Southeastern Conference-opening win.

Green, from Woodland Hills, Calif., averaged 2.1 points and 2.5 rebounds in 2009-10 as a third-year sophomore.

The additions of Justin Hamilton and Johnny O’Bryant this season provide LSU solid depth inside, but probably would have cut into Green’s playing time.

Hamilton becomes eligible after transferring from Iowa State and sitting out 2010-11 to satisfy the NCAA’s residency rules. O’Bryant joins the fray after earning McDonald’s All-America recognition as a senior at East Side High in Cleveland, Miss.

Storm Warren and Malcolm White return as seniors after combining for 53 starts in the post last year.

“Coach Johnson has given me every opportunity to be successful here at LSU,” Green said in a university release. “I’m getting my bachelor’s degree, had a chance to play in the SEC, and be a part of a great basketball program. I really appreciate everything coach Johnson and LSU have done for me, but I look forward to my next opportunity.”

Green averaged 13 points and nine rebounds at Taft High in Woodland Hills. He was the last Tiger remaining from the John Brady era.

“The most important thing is he’s a kid who has been in the program four years and is getting a degree,” Johnson said. “I’m excited about the fact that he’s graduating.”