The Illini's leading scorer and rebounder will not be returning to Illinois next year. Here's the full announcement from fightingillini.com:
Champaign, Ill. – Illinois head coach Brad Underwood announced Thursday that redshirt junior forward Leron Black (Memphis, Tenn./White Station H.S.) plans to forgo his final year of eligibility. Black intends to sign with an agent on the heels of a successful season where he led the Fighting Illini in scoring and rebounding while earning a bachelor's degree in communication.
LERON BLACK 2017-18 HIGHLIGHTS
• Led Illini in scoring (15.3 ppg), rebounding (5.2 rpg), field goal percentage (.547) and 3-point field goal percentage (.512)
• Increased his scoring average by 7.6 points per game after averaging 8.1 points last season
• 11th in the Big Ten in scoring for all games and also ranked 11th in conference games (16.4 ppg)
• Scored in double figures in 26 of 31 games on the year, including 13 of the last 15 games
• Scored at least 12 points in 16 of 18 games during conference play
• Seven outings of 20-plus points, including four-straight 20-point games from Feb. 14-22
• First Illini player in last 15 years with four-consecutive 20-point performances against Big Ten opponents
• Career-high 28 points twice: vs. Nebraska (Feb. 18) and vs. Purdue (Feb. 22)
• Illini's leading scorer 14 times on the season
• 53rd in the NCAA in field goal percentage (.547)
• 11th in the Big Ten in free throw percentage (.800)
QUOTING COACH UNDERWOOD
"Leron and I have had a number of discussions about his future since our season ended. He is ready to begin a pro career, and we fully support this decision. Leron has greatly improved over the last year and showcased that development as one of the most consistent players in the Big Ten. He was an efficient scorer at all areas of the court, shooting a high percentage whether it was on post-ups, the midrange, or out to the 3-point arc. He was one of the toughest players to guard in our league, and that showed with his production throughout conference play.
"Beyond the game of basketball, he also got engaged and completed his degree, so he has had a very special year. Leron has achieved his goal of graduating from the University of Illinois, and he will always be part of the Fighting Illini family. We are excited about his future, and our staff will continue working with him this spring as he prepares to play professionally."
QUOTING LERON BLACK
"This was a very tough decision for me. I have loved my time at Illinois and have grown so much during my four years here. I'm thankful for the guidance from my coaches, my teammates, everyone at the Irwin Academic Center, and all the support staff who have helped make me the person and player I am today.
"I came to Illinois to play basketball and earn my degree, and I am proud to have earned my bachelor's and will continue working toward my master's. I have met so many incredible people while here on campus, including my fiancé, Sheila, who also will graduate in May. I feel that Illinois has prepared me for the next chapter in my life, which is to realize my dream of playing professional basketball. I wish this coaching staff and my teammates all the best. Illinois basketball is in great hands with Coach Underwood, and the future is bright here.
"Finally, I want to thank our fans for supporting me throughout everything I've been through these last four years. I'll miss playing in front of the Orange Krush and all the great fans at State Farm Center."
Photo from Fightingillini.com