Groce Confirms Roster Moves

Coach John Groce announced the addition of Ahmad Starks and Darius Paul Wednesday, while also confirming Myke Henry has been granted a release.

The Illinois basketball roster took two steps up and one step back Wednesday.

Coach John Groce announced guard Ahmad Starks and forward Darius Paul will transfer in, while forward Myke Henry has been granted a release.

All three moves have been expected for some time but weren't made official until a school press release Wednesday.

A 5-9, 170-pound guard, Starks averaged 10.2 points per game in three seasons at Oregon State. His 185 made 3-point baskets set the school record.

A native of Chicago, Starks starred at Whitney Young High School, winning the IHSA Class 4A state title in 2009. Due to health concerns involving a family member, Starks will petition the NCAA to be immediately eligible. It's unsure if he'll be granted that request, according to a source close to the program.

Regardless of when he'll be able to play, Groce is excited about his addition.

"Ahmad is another terrific, high-character young man, and we are pleased to welcome him to the Fighting Illini," he said. "He was an accomplished player at Oregon State but has elected to return closer to home for family reasons. Ahmad is an explosive scorer who is capable of making plays for others as well. His versatility will help bolster our backcourt."

Paul is a familiar name for Illini fans. The brother of former guard Brandon Paul, Darius is a 6-foot-8, 220-pound forward who was named the MAC Freshman of the Year last season. He averaged 10.4 points and 5.7 rebounds a game while starting 33 games for Western Michigan.

"Darius is an outstanding person from an exceptional family," Groce said. "He is a talented player who can score in a variety of ways and is a physical presence at both ends of the floor. His versatility and skill will be a welcome addition as we continue to move this program forward."

The good news was accompanied with the confirmation that Henry has indeed decided to move on. The fourth player to leave Illinois since the conclusion of last season, Henry's departure was rumored for weeks. The rising junior averaged 3.2 points and 2.1 rebounds a game last season.

"Myke is looking for a new opportunity where he will be able to play a different position," Groce said. "He was a valued member of our team, but we want what is best for him, so we will help Myke find the right fit that will help him further his goals both on and off the court." 

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