Big Ten

Illini dismiss Kendrick Nunn from basketball program

Big Ten

Kendrick Nunn is no longer a member of the Illinois basketball team.

Illinois athletics director Josh Whitman and head basketball coach John Groce released a joint statement Tuesday afternoon announcing that Nunn, who pleaded guilty to misdemeanor battery last week, has been dismissed from the program.

"We have made the decision to dismiss Kendrick Nunn from the men's basketball team, effective immediately. We have not reached this decision easily; we care deeply about Kendrick and want him to be successful. But after extensive deliberation, we think it best for our program to reaffirm our core values of trust and respect, to send a strong message about what is acceptable behavior for our student-athletes at the University of Illinois and to part ways with Kendrick. As it is on college campuses across the country, relationship violence is of significant concern at our university, and we expect Fighting Illini student-athletes to be leaders in promoting healthy, respectful, caring relationships. We wish Kendrick all the best as he prepares for the next chapter of his life."

Nunn was arrested on charges of domestic battery in March shortly after the Illini's season came to an end. He initially faced two counts of domestic battery, though those charges were reduced to one count of misdemeanor battery, which Nunn pleaded guilty to last week, admitting that he hit a woman in the head. He was sentenced to 18 months of court supervision, 100 hours of community service, enrollment in a partner abuse intervention program, a written letter of apology and a $200 fine. He will receive no conviction on his record if he does all those things.

 

Nunn, a Chicago native and Simeon High School product, was one of Illinois' top players. Last season as a junior, he averaged 15.5 points per game, which ranked 12th in the Big Ten. He also ranked among the conference leaders in steals and made 3-pointers.

But despite Nunn's value to the team, Whitman — who has still been on the job only a few months — opted to make a bold statement about the culture of an athletics department that has received a lot of negative attention in recent years.

Nunn was one of three Illinois players arrested since February.

Junior forward Leron Black was arrested after pulling a knife on a nightclub bouncer, and he pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor version of the original charge and entered a second-chance program, completing 20 hours of public service and paying a $200 fine in addition to receiving a sentence of 12 months of conditional discharge. Black was suspended for two exhibition games and the first four regular-season games of the upcoming campaign.

Senior guard Jaylon Tate was arrested and charged with domestic battery in March. Those charges were dismissed last week, and Tate was reinstated from an indefinite suspension.

Nunn is the second player dismissed from the Illinois program in a calendar year. Last summer, Darius Paul was dismissed after he was arrested during the team's European trip.