Illikainen leaves UW program

Senior forward Alex Illikainen has decided to leave the University of Wisconsin basketball program but will remain enrolled at the school, according to a statement released by the program.

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

He is the second player to leave the program since the 2017-18 season ended in March. Andy Van Vliet transferred to William & Mary after reportedly not seeing eye to eye with Gard and the coaching staff.

Recruited out of Grand Rapids, Minnesota, Illikainen appeared in 85 career games, averaging 1.5 points and 1.3 rebounds.

His best season was the 2015-16 true freshman season, playing in 33 games, including all three NCAA tournament games, and averaging 12 minutes, 2.3 points and 1.9 rebounds per game. His best performance came shortly after Greg Gard took over for Bo Ryan, as Illikainen scored a career-high 10 points while adding one rebound and one assist in 11 minutes in a loss to Purdue at the Kohl Center.

His production and minutes waned after his freshman season, bottoming out last season when he played in 25 games, averaging just 6.8 minutes per game, despite the Badgers needing a veteran on the court.

Illikainen did not play in the season opener last week against Coppin State. Illikainen hasn’t used his redshirt year which opens the possibility of him playing elsewhere.

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