Since his absence from the Illinois team banquet, Myke Henry's status with the program has remained a mystery. On Thursday, one of Henry's former high school coaches said the 6-foot-6 forward is looking for a fresh start.
"He just decided that he wanted a fresh start somewhere else and decided he didn't want to go back," said Phil Gipson, an assistant coach at Chicago Orr with whom Henry has a close relationship. "Illinois, that's a great coaching staff and he loved the coaching staff, but sometimes to get yourself going you need a new environment."
The forward, an academic All-Big Ten pick, appeared in 35 games this past season as a sophomore, playing 10.6 minutes and averaging 2.1 rebounds and 3.2 points for John Groce. As a freshman, Henry played in 22 games averaging 8.1 minutes, 3.2 points and 1.1 rebounds.
Gipson said they're hoping Henry will receive his release from Illinois within the next week and they'll begin the process of finding his next destination.
"We don't know yet where he might end up," Gipson said of Henry who is back home in Chicago working out. "We're just waiting to evaluate things and figure out what's best for him. I talked to Coach (Dustin) Ford a lot; he's been real helpful and understands the situation. They're helping a lot because they care about him."
Henry is the fourth member of Illinois' 2011 recruiting class to leave the program this offseason.
Mike Shaw, Devin Langford and Ibby Djimde announced they were leaving the program five days after Illinois' season ended March 24 with an NCAA tournament loss to Miami.
Of Bruce Weber's last recruiting class at Illinois, only juniors-to-be Tracy Abrams and Nnanna Egwu remain with the program.
With Henry's departure, Illinois has one scholarship remaining for the 2013-14 season. One candidate is Oregon State transfer Ahmad Starks, who visited earlier this month but has yet to make a decision.