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Wisconsin announces F Alex Illikainen will leave basketball team

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The senior big man will remain enrolled at UW.

NCAA Basketball: Illinois at Wisconsin Mary Langenfeld-USA TODAY Sports

On Monday afternoon, Wisconsin announced via release that senior forward Alex Illikainen has decided to leave the men’s basketball program, though the big man will still be enrolled at UW.

A four-star recruit by 247Sports, a three-star by its composite rankings, Illikainen was a member of a 2015 class that included Brevin Pritzl, Khalil Iverson, Charles Thomas and the departed Andy Van Vliet.

Illikainen did not play in the season opener against Coppin State on Nov. 6, an 85-63 win for Wisconsin.

In 85 career games playing in the cardinal and white, the Grand Rapids, Minn., native averaged 1.5 points and 1.3 rebounds per contest.

“We wish Alex luck as he continues to pursue earning his degree from the University of Wisconsin in May,” Wisconsin head coach Greg Gard said via the release. “We also want to thank him for his efforts during his three-plus years with our program.”

Though the 6’9, 235-pound Illikainen did not find time on the court in Wisconsin’s first game of the season, his departure does hurt the depth of Gard’s frontcourt. Thomas, Ethan Happ and Nate Reuvers are the only experienced forwards on the squad at the moment (Iverson is listed as a guard, for what it is worth), with redshirt sophomore Aleem Ford out indefinitely after undergoing knee surgery.

UW also announced last Tuesday that true freshman forward Taylor Currie was one of three players declaring their plans of redshirting this season.