Michael Jordan's son Jeff, who had been expected to play a solid role as a junior at Illinois next season, has decided to leave the basketball program to concentrate on his academics, the school announced Wednesday.
``I loved playing for the Fighting Illini and appreciate the support I was given by my teammates, coaches and the great fans here,'' Jordan said. ``But I have come to the point where I'm ready to focus on life after basketball. I will concentrate on earning my degree from the University of Illinois and the opportunities that await upon graduating.''
Jordan, who was given a scholarship last semester after being a walk-on, had been expected to inherit the defense-perimeter role held by Chester Frazier, who finished his career this spring. Whether as a starter or a key reserve, he figured to play a lot of minutes and be a leader for a promising that will add four freshmen to a nucleus that will return four other juniors.
Jordan averaged 8.4 minutes as a sophomore after playing 5.3 minutes as a freshman. He had 58 points, 42 assists and 24 rebounds in his 59-game Illinois career.
``Jeff was an invaluable member of our team the past two seasons and I thank him for his contribution to our program,'' coach Bruce Weber said. ``He brought great work ethic to the gym and pushed himself, as well as his teammates, each and every day to improve. We will miss him, but we fully support the decision he has made. When the game of basketball has been a top priority throughout your life, it is very difficult to transition away from playing. I know Jeff has given this much thought. He is an outstanding, mature young man who will be successful in whatever areas he pursues in the future.''