Illini lose freshman basketball player due to academics

By The Associated Press

CHAMPAIGN, Ill. – Illinois basketball coach Bruce Weber says promising recruit Quinton Watkins won’t play or attend school this fall because he isn’t academically eligible.

Watkins could still join the team in the spring after attending either a prep school or a junior college.

The loss leaves the Illini in a bind. Weber announced last week that junior guard Jamar Smith will sit out the year after pleading guilty to drunk driving.

Watkins, meanwhile, was expected to compete for playing time at point guard. Returning starter Chester Frazier is now most likely to start at point.

Weber says the team will start figuring out its guard rotation while on a weekend trip to play in Canada.