Freshman point guard Skyy Clark is stepping away from the Illinois program.
The former four-star recruit bowing out of Champaign for the time being is just the latest program the Illini are facing in the midst of a challenging stretch early in Big Ten play.
Head coach Brad Underwood confirmed Clark’s plans in a statement Friday night.
“Skyy has made the decision to take some time away from basketball. He remains a valued part of our program and will continue to receive our full support. Skyy is a thoughtful, caring young man who right now needs to prioritize himself and his family. This is bigger than basketball. We understand that and stand with him every step of the way.”
Clark originally committed to Kentucky, but ended up at Illinois last summer.
Coming off an ACL tear during his last year in high school, Clark still contributed to the Illini early this season, especially in big victories over No. 8 UCLA and No. 2 Texas.
But he never truly found his rhythm, averaging just 7 points on 41.1% shooting. He didn’t play in Illinois’ win over Bethune-Cookman last week, but came off the bench in the 73-60 loss to Northwestern on Wednesday. He finished with two points on 1-of-6 shooting in 20 minutes.
Skyy’s brother ZZ also committed to Illinois last year, but backed out of his pledge in October.
Clark’s temporary departure means more starts for freshman guard Jayden Epps, who got the nod against the Wildcats.
Clark’s most memorable moment? Probably when he ended up with Spider-Man.
Illinois returns to the court Saturday afternoon against Wisconsin.