NEWS

Illini notebook: Stan Simpson announces transfer

John Supinie

Scholarships continued to open up on the Illinois basketball team.

Redshirt freshman center Stan Simpson, who logged 17 minutes this season, will transfer, the school announced Thursday. A graduate of Chicago Simeon High School, Simpson planned to complete the semester before enrolling at another school.

Simpson periodically missed workouts this season while catching up on his academic workload.

"Stan faced a number of challenges during his time here," coach Bruce Weber said in a statement. "He is looking for more playing time and a fresh start, and we will monitor his academic progress this spring while assisting him in the transfer process."

Illinois already announced fourth-year junior center Rich Semrau wouldn't return, and guard Alex Legion transfered following the first semester.

FOOTBALL: Just like everyone other than Northwestern and the Chicago Cubs, Illinois awaited for the final word concerning a Big Ten Conference game between the Illini and Northwestern in Wrigley Field on Nov. 20. Long considered a likelihood, the deal was nearly completed, a source said.

"It's a Northwestern home game, so we're on the sidelines waiting for them to work out the details,'' Illinois spokesman Kent Brown said.

Northwestern liked the idea of a novelty for a program that struggles to draw a crowd. The Chicago Bears last played in Wrigley in 1970.

Meanwhile, Illinois announced the signing of Houston Bates, a 6-foot-3, 245-pound prep senior who could play the bandit position in defensive coordinator Vic Koenning's scheme. Bates was rated a three-star recruit by Rivals and a New Orleans all-Metro selection while playing at St. Paul's School in Covington, La. Bates is eligible to play this fall.

WOMEN'S BASKETBALL: Sophomore guard Fabiola Josil has decided to transfer, the school said. Josil played in 62 games this season and averaged 3.2 points and 1.7 rebounds in her career.

John Supinie can be reached at Johnsupinie@aol.com.