Yet another transfer is interested in coming to Champaign. Last week it was Texas guard Sheldon McClellan expressing an interest in transferring to Illinois and this time it's Oregon State guard Ahmad Starks. Starks is from Chicago and would like to return closer to home to be with his ailing grandmother.
"My plan is to be somewhere in the state of Illinois, as close to home as possible,'' Starks told The Oregonian. "It's not a personal thing, with the coaching staff or anything like that. It's just about me being close to home and to my grandma. I don't know how much time she has left.''
The two schools Starks listed as potential destinations were Illinois and Bradley, and Joe Henricksen of the Chicago Sun-Times reports that Starks will visit Illinois this week.
Now, this situation is a bit different than McLellan's. While I'm not really interested in using our open scholarship on a player that won't be able to play next season and will use up a scholarship in the 2014 class, that might not be the case with Starks. He isn't a fifth-year transfer like Jon Ekey, but he did just finish his junior season and believes he can get a waiver from the NCAA that would allow him to play right away. If that were the case then I'd seriously consider bringing Starks aboard.
This team will be very young next season and experience and depth would be nice.
Starks averaged 10.4 points per game while shooting 39.5% from three for the Beavers last season. He's already holds the school record for threes made with 185 and the story says he was capable of "carrying his team and demoralizing the opponent for short stretches." Combine that with the fact he's a career 86% free throw shooter and he could be a valuable asset coming off the bench next season. If, and I have to stress that IF, he's eligible to play right away.