Illinois freshman forward Jereme Richmond did not play in Saturday's loss at Wisconsin because of missed practice time and a lack of preparation, according to coach Bruce Weber.
Richmond was not at practice Thursday or Friday for personal reasons and went home as the team prepared for the Badgers. Asked if he would play Tuesday against Michigan State, Weber said "Hopefully'' without offering any further information.
And several Illinois players seemed to want to sidestep the topic after the game, lending a hint of mystery to the whole affair.
Asked if he was surprised that Richmond didn't play, forward Bill Cole offered an abrupt, "No.'' Said forward Tyler Griffey, "I'm not going to comment on the Jereme situation, sorry.''
Making the matter more curious Saturday afternoon was a series of tweets by Jim Jackson of the Big Ten Network. Jackson first suggested that he had sources who told him Richmond wanted to transfer. Later he retracted that comment.
Guard Demetri McCamey said Richmond's absence wasn't an issue within the team.
"He's part of the team and coach Weber played the best people, so nobody talked about Jereme and everyone was just trying to win a ballgame,'' McCamey said. "Everybody has a chance to play the next game. That's up to coach Weber.''