When Ahmad Starks made the decision to transfer from Oregon State to the University of Illinois earlier this year, it was unclear whether or not he’d be able to join the team this season. The NCAA has spoken, and it seems that the point guard originally from Chicago will be hanging out on the bench until the 2014-2015 season.
Starks chose Illinois in order to be closer to his ailing grandmother in Chicago, and thus petitioned the NCAA for a hardship waiver that would allow him to play for the Illini immediately. The petition was denied today, much to the disappointment of Illini fans, and – I’m guessing – for the Starks family as well.
“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. “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.”
Starks spent three years with Oregon State, and will have one year of eligibility remaining with the Illini in 2014-2015. Stay tuned to learn more about Starks in the Zee for Three “Getting to know the new guys” series.