Starks Denied Hardship Waiver

CHAMPAIGN - Anticipation has given way to disappointment -- Ahmad Starks will not be able to play for Illinois this season.

Word came from the university late Tuesday that the senior guard, who transferred from Oregon State after a three-year career, must sit out after the NCAA denied the hardship waiver request.

"We are all disappointed with the decision to deny the waiver and especially feel bad for Ahmad and his family," Illinois head coach John Groce said. "Ahmad had a compelling case, returning to his home state to be closer to an ailing grandmother who played an instrumental role in raising him. However, we now have to move forward. Ahmad will focus on preparing our team in practice while also making individual improvement, fueled by the goal of returning to the court in 2014-15."

Groce was hopeful the playmaking Starks, at 5-foot-9, 170-pounds, could provide leadership this season for a team that saw numerous roster changes in the offseason.

Starks averaged 10.4 points and 2.3 assists and shot nearly 40 percent from the 3-point line for the Beavers last season.

Instead, he'll join transfers Aaron Cosby and Darius Paul as players who can practice but will not be able to suit up for games until the 2014-15 season.

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