Myke Henry

Illinois forward Myke Henry requests release from scholarship

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With the graduation of leading scorers Brandon Paul and D.J. Richardson, there was a chance that 6-6 forward Myke Henry would see more opportunities to produce for Illinois in 2013-14.

However it seems as if the Chicago native won’t be around to realize such possibilities, as it was reported by the Champaign News-Gazette that Henry has requested to be released from his scholarship.

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.

Raphielle can be followed on Twitter at @raphiellej.

Akron reveals special bobble heads for LeBron, high school teammates

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When it comes to discussing some of the game of basketball’s best players, specifically those who went directly from high school to the NBA, a question that’s often asked is where said player would have attended college if forced (by rule) to do so. Kevin Garnett, Kobe Bryant and LeBron James are among those who have been discussed in this manner, and in the case of LeBron he’s got connections to two programs within his home state of Ohio.

LeBron’s connected with the Ohio State program, which is outfitted by the Nike’s LeBron signature line, but there’s another program with an even closer connection. That would be Akron, which is led by head coach Keith Dambrot, and all he did was serve as LeBron’s high school coach at St. Vincent/St. Mary’s HS in Akron during the player’s freshman and sophomore years at the school. Also on those teams were two future Akron Zips in guard Dru Joyce and forward Romeo Travis.

Thursday the school announced that it would be honoring James, Joyce and Travis with bobble head dolls to be given out before Akron’s home games against Buffalo (February 16; Joyce’s bobble head), Bowling Green (February 26; Travis) and Ohio (March 1; James).

All three bobble head dolls are wearing Akron uniforms, which in the case of LeBron allows fans to think back and imagine what could have been. Season ticket holders guaranteed one bobble head per account (on each of the three giveaway days), with the first 750 fans in attendance to receive one as well.

NEW PODCAST: Indiana, Cal, troublesome trends and a weekend preview

California's Jabari Bird celebrates a score against Oregon in the first half of an NCAA college basketball game Thursday, Feb. 11, 2016, in Berkeley, Calif. (AP Photo/Ben Margot)
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The gang is back together again for another episode of the NBCSports.com College Basketball Talk Podcast, with Rob Dauster hosting and Raphielle Johnson and Scott Phillips joining him. Today’s episode touched on big wins picked up Thursday night by California and Indiana, discussing the performances of those teams and also touching on their prospects down the line.

Also discussed were the recent performances of Iowa State, Providence and Texas A&M (which are you more worried about?), and some of the top games on this weekend’s schedule headlined by Kansas visiting Oklahoma. And if you’re a fan of seafood, you may take umbrage with some of Rob’s comments at the beginning of the podcast.

As always, you can subscribe to the podcast on either iTunes or Stitcher, and there’s also a link to listen to this podcast below. Thanks for listening.