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Senior Forward Alex Illikainen leaving Wisconsin program

Wisconsin Indiana Basketball

Indiana’s Thomas Bryant has his shot blocked by Wisconsin’s Alex Illikainen during the first half of an NCAA college basketball game Tuesday, Jan. 3, 2017, in Bloomington Ind. (AP Photo/Darron Cummings)


When Wisconsin got up big against Coppin State Tuesday, coach Greg Gard emptied his bench with one exception. That player is no longer with the program.

Alex Illikainen, a senior from Minnesota, has elected to leave the Badgers, the school announced Wednesday.

The 6-foot-9 forward appeared in 85 career games for Wisconsin, averaging 1.5 points and 1.3 rebounds per game. He was a top-150 prospect coming out of Brewster Academy in the 2015 class. His role with the Badgers decreased every season after he averaged 9.8 minutes per game as a freshman. He did not play in Wisconsin’s season-opening 22-point victory.

“We wish Alex luck as he continues to pursue earning his degree from the University of Wisconsin in May,” Gard said in a statement. “We also want to thank him for his efforts during his three-plus years with our program.”

If Illikainen is able to graduate, he would likely be able to transfer and be immediately eligible for a final collegiate season.