Following an indefinite suspension for a violation of team rules, junior shooting guard Aaron Cosby will graduate and transfer out of Illinois this offseason. This was Cosby's second year with the program; he sat out the 2013-14 season after initially transferring from Seton Hall.
Statement from John Groce:
"After having further discussions with Aaron and evaluating the situation from both sides, he and I have mutually agreed that it is best to part ways," Groce said. "I enjoyed coaching Aaron and appreciate the contributions he made during his time here. I wish him success and will be rooting for him to have a great finish to his career."
Statement from Aaron Cosby:
"I have a great relationship with my coaches and teammates here at Illinois, but feel it's in my best interest to seek out a new opportunity," Cosby said. "I'm thankful for everyone in the program for their support and look forward to the next chapter in my basketball career."
Cosby was named one of the team's most improved players by the coaching staff following his sit-out season, but his production this year didn't exactly reflect that. He was Illinois' fourth-leading scorer at 7.8 points per game, but he did this while shooting an abysmal 29.3% from the field and 31.1% from three-point range.
Putting the shooting number aside, fans will most likely remember Cosby for his play in this year's Northwestern game. He played an integral role in the team's 72-67 victory as he put up a season-high 19 points on 7/15 shooting.
When looking at next season's roster, it's easy to see why Cosby would want to explore other opportunities. With Kendrick Nunn, Malcolm Hill, Jalen Coleman-Lands, Aaron Jordan, and D.J. Williams roaming the wings, Cosby was looking at, at best, a backup role with the team.
So what does this mean for the program going forward? Well, there's now one available scholarship for the 2015-16 season that could be filled by a 2015 recruit (Marcus LoVett), or the team could take a fifth-year graduate transfer. We'll just have to wait and see.