The mass exodus out of Champaign continues with Myke Henry the latest player to jump ship. Normally this would cause concern, but I truly see this as an effort for new head coach John Groce to mold together the team he really wants.
The news of Henry’s transfer was hardly a surprise, as rumors had been swirling for weeks. In fact, I thought it already happened, but turns out the official announcement didn’t arrive until a couple of days ago.
On the heels of Henry’s transfer, Oregon State transfer Ahmad Starks officially committed to Ilinois. With one year of eligibility left, the point guard may be able to play immediately if granted a family hardship waiver to be closer to his ailing grandmother in Chicago.
Starks made 73 starts over three seasons with the Beavers, and leaves as the school’s career leader in 3-pointers made. He averaged 10.4 points last season.
I’m a bit sad to see Henry go, because out of the four juniors who have jumped ship (including Mike Shaw, Ibby Djimde and Devin Langford) Henry showed the most promise. He had the most playing time last year, and had some flashed of, well, goodness if not greatness. I’m also nervous that there are only three total returning players from last year’s roster (Tracy Abrams, Joseph Bertrand and Nnanna Egwu).
Despite some exciting recruits coming in, this season has the potential to be a big mess. Although, now that Groce has essentially crafted his own team from scratch and doesn’t have to work with many of Weber’s guys, maybe that’s when the magic will truly happen.
I’ve heard some not-so-positive buzz about Starks and his performance in Oregon State, but I trust Groce and his plan. The right setting can make a world of difference for a player. And, with just one year of eligibility left, he can’t do too much trouble. If nothing else, at least he’s another body out there with some experience during our rebuilding year.
Confused by who’s on the team? Check out my favorite scholarship chart from The Champaign Room.