As I did my morning scroll through Twitter, I came upon a tweet from D.J. Williams. The tweet mentioned the fact that it was game day, and how excited he was, alongside a picture of him jumping up and down on the bench. Less than twelve hours later, that tweet was deleted and the Illini staff had notified the media that DJW would not be available tonight and he would be taking a “temporary leave.” It was first reported by Jeremy Werner of IlliniInquirer:

I don’t want to get ahead of myself in this story, and we should let it develop before making any leaps about if and when DJW will play basketball in an Illinois uniform again. Groce was asked after last night’s Michigan victory what this means for Williams:

Even before tipoff of last night’s game, it may have become clearer to the former top 100 recruit that the lineup, one that operated more effectively than it had all season, did not require his services. This doesn’t mean that Illinois can’t benefit from him this season, or let him continue to develop and put him in a bigger role next season, but the athletic 6’7″ guard has averaged only 2.6 points and 0.5 assists per game in the limited time he’s seen.

Personally, I hope he stays. I know that he hasn’t played to the level that the coaching staff expected, but with continued development and patience, I think that he can be a solid contributor. We’ve seen brief flashes of offense from him, but I don’t think that he’s had quite enough playing time to really show us at what level his game is at right now.

With the addition and hopefully continued quality play of Kipper, this should not hinder Illinois if Williams indeed is transferring, although I’m sure most fans would be open to him sticking around.

*Friday 1/13 Update*

It was confirmed that D.J. Williams is back and practicing with the program. He will be available to play tomorrow.

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