Ahmad Starks will have to wait until the 2014-2015 season to wrap up his collegiate career.
The 5-foot-9 Chicagoan played his first three seasons at Oregon State before decided to transfer to Illinois to be close to his ailing grandmother. On Tuesday night, his hardship waiver was denied by the NCAA.
“Following a lengthy process, we have received final word from the NCAA on Ahmad’s status. We are all disappointed with the decision to deny the waiver and especially feel bad for Ahmad and his family,” Illinois head coach John Groce said in a statement. “Ahmad had a compelling case, returning to his home state to be closer to an ailing grandmother who played an instrumental role in raising him. However, we now have to move forward. Ahmad will focus on preparing our team in practice while also making individual improvement, fueled by the goal of returning to the court in 2014-15.”
The Illinois backcourt is looking to replace the production of leading scorers Brandon Paul and D.J. Richardson. The Illini backcourt this season consists of returners Tracy Abrams and Joseph Bertrand while adding transfer Rayvonte Rice and incoming freshmen Kendrick Nunn, Jaylon Tate and Malcolm Hill.
Starks averaged 10.4 points, 2.3 assists, 2.0 boards and 1.0 steals per game this past season for Oregon State. He joins a promising 2014 class that includes four-star point guard Quentin Snider and four-star power forward Leron Black, as well as three-star big man Michael Finke. He also be eligible the same year as Seton Hall transfer Aaron Cosby, who will have two years left to play.
Starks will have one year of eligibility remaining.
Monmouth used a 17-2 run in the final minutes to beat Rider on Friday night, a win that will keep the Hawks within striking distance of the kind of an at-large bid to the NCAA tournament should they fall in the MAAC tourney.
The run was capped by star point guard Justin Robinson, who buried this three with three seconds left to put Monmouth up for good, 79-78:
Allonzo Trier scored 15 of his 18 points in the second half and Parker Jackson-Cartwright scored 16 points in his second career start as No. 17 Arizona knocked off UCLA, 81-75, in Tucson on Friday night.
UCLA was up by as much as 11 points in the first half and took a ten point lead into half time, but in the second half, the Bruins were eventually done in by foul trouble and the stronger front line of the Wildcats.
Ryan Anderson and Kaleb Tarczewski were dominant down the stretch. The duo combined to score 12 of the last 23 point for the Wildcats, including the bucket that put the Wildcats ahead for the first time since early in the first half. Off of a missed free throw, UCLA’s Thomas Welsh battled with Tarczewski for the rebound, but when Welsh finally seemed to gain control of the loose ball, Anderson knocked it out of his hands and bullied through Jonah Bolden for a layup.
All told, those two combined for 20 points and 27 boards, seven of which were offensive. They also managed to foul out both Welsh and Tony Parker, although some of the calls that went against UCLA down the stretch were questionable.
The win keeps Arizona within a game of first place Oregon in the Pac-12 standings and tied for second with No. 23 USC, who will be visiting the McKale Center on Sunday night.