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Illinois announces departure of redshirt junior guard from program

Aaron Cosby, Tre Demps

AP Photo


With Rayvonte Rice making his return from a two-game suspension for a violation of team rules in Illinois’ 64-52 win over Michigan February 12, there was still the matter of when redshirt junior guard Aaron Cosby would be reinstated. Cosby, who began his college career at Seton Hall, was suspended at the same time as Rice and was averaging 7.8 points and 3.6 rebounds per game for the Fighting Illini.

Friday, it was announced that Cosby will not return to the program. In the statement this was termed as a “mutual decision” reached by Cosby and head coach John Groce , with Cosby expected to finish the semester before transferring to another school. Cosby, who’s on course to graduate this spring, would be immediately eligible as a graduate transfer.

“After having further discussions with Aaron and evaluating the situation from both sides, he and I have mutually agreed that it is best to part ways,” Groce said in the release. “I enjoyed coaching Aaron and appreciate the contributions he made during his time here. I wish him success and will be rooting for him to have a great finish to his career.”

Illinois has solidified its perimeter rotation in recent weeks, with the suspensions meaning that sophomores Malcolm Hill, Jaylon Tate and Kendrick Nunn received even more opportunities to make plays. Add in seniors Rice and Ahmad Starks, and the Fighting Illini are well-positioned from a depth standpoint.

And in regards to next season, Illinois adds four-star guards Jalen Coleman-Lands and Aaron Jordan, and four-star forward D.J. Williams. With those players joining Hill, Nunn and Tate, minutes likely would have been tough to come by for Cosby.

“I have a great relationship with my coaches and teammates here at Illinois, but feel it’s in my best interest to seek out a new opportunity,” Cosby said in the release. “I’m thankful for everyone in the program for their support and look forward to the next chapter in my basketball career.”