In 35 games last season Henry played 10.6 minutes per game, posting averages of 3.2 points and 2.1 rebounds per contest. But even with the opportunities likely available with Illinois’ top two scorers out of eligibility, Chicago Orr HS assistant Phil Gipson stated that Henry is in search of a fresh start.
“He just decided that he wanted a fresh start somewhere else and decided he didn’t want to go back,” Gipson told Marcus Jackson of the News-Gazette.
“Illinois, that’s a great coaching staff and he loved the coaching staff, but sometimes to get yourself going you need a new environment.”
With Henry’s decision four players have decided to leave the Illinois program since the end of the season, with forwards Devin Langford, Mike Shaw and Ibby Djimde deciding to do so in late March.
As for the Fighting Illini’s depth on the wing they’ll take a hit there but won’t lack for college experience. Rayvonte Rice, a transfer from Drake, will be eligible after sitting out the 2012-13 season and he’ll be joined by former Illinois State forward Jon Ekey.
The 6-foot-3 guard averaged 10.3 points per game, while shooting 42 percent from three, as a freshman. He, along with Malcolm Hill and Michael Thorne Jr., is one of three returning players who averaged double figures last season.
This could prove to be a make-or-break year for John Groce, who enters his fifth season at the helm. He guided the Illini to an NCAA Tournament in his first season, but hasn’t been back since.
The key for the Illini is health. Abrams gives them experience and leadership, but it won’t be a surprise if there’s some rust in his game after spending the past two seasons on the sideline. Having a healthy Coleman-Lands will help stabilize the backcourt, while Hill, an all-conference caliber forward, and Thorne anchor the frontcourt.
Like Alkins, Jones was a sought-after scorer. The 6-foot-4 two-guard was rated No. 69 overall in the Class of 2016 by Rivals. He picked Indiana over offers from Cal, Cincinnati, Georgetown and more than a dozen other high-major programs.
Jeter, the 6-foot-10, played in a reserve role as a freshman, averaging 1.9 points and 1.9 rebounds per game last season. He will be part of a loaded frontline that includes heralded freshmen Harry Giles and Marques Bolden, as well as redshirt senior Amile Jefferson, who returns to the lineup following a foot injury.
The greatest player in Auburn program history will honored with a statue outside of the team’s home arena.
The university announced that Charles Barkley, the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Famer, will be the fourth athlete to be given a statue, joining Heisman Trophy winners Bo Jackson, Pat Sullivan and Cam Newton.
“It just means a great deal to me,” Barkley said in a statement. “Being a kid from Alabama, going to Auburn. I think everybody knows what Auburn means to me. It’s going to be pretty cool.”
Barkley, currently working as an analyst for TNT, was the SEC Player of the Year in 1984, as well as a second team All-American. He averaged 14.1 points and 9.6 rebounds per game in 84 appearances for the Tigers.