Illinois State forward Jon Ekey will transfer from the school.
The news came from The Pantagraph’s Jim Benson. Ekey was one of the Redbirds’ top forwards, teaming with Jackie Carmichael up front.
Ekey, who will be a senior next season, averaged 6.4 points and 4.2 rebounds this year for Illinois State. He’ll have one season of eligibility remaining and it’s unclear if he’s eligible for the graduate transfer waiver. He’s been at Illinois State the past four years, redshirting as a freshman during the 2009-10 season. If I had to bet money, I’d say he will be eligible for said graduate transfer waiver. If not, he’ll be headed to a non-NCAA Division I school of his choice.
The 6-7 Ekey’s scoring production dropped this season — going from nine points per game last season to just over six — but his rebounding prowess has stayed the same his entire career. The Independence, Mo. native has averaged at least four boards per game all three seasons he’s played. He played in 33 games, starting 18 this season.
Ekey scored in double figures just once after the turn of the new year, an 11-point performance in a loss at Bradley. He scored in double figures in nine of the teams’ first 13 games this year.
With Carmichael, leading scorer Tyler Brown and John Wilkins — who averaged 6.7 points per game — all exhausting their eligibility, this is a serious blow to the Redbirds hopes next season. Ekey would no doubt be one of the premiere forwards for Illinois State and a senior leader. Johnny Hill (7.7 points, 3.9 rebounds, 49.4-percent field goal percentage) and Allen Bryant (8.6 points, 47-of-152 on threes) return next year, but Ekey would’ve most likely started up front.
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