CHAMPAIGN — Illinois head coach Brad Underwood announced that sophomore wing player Tevian Jones will "suit up" for Saturday's game against No. 3 Maryland.
Jones has been suspended for the first eight games of the season for a "violation of team academic policies." He was also suspended for eight games last season for a "violation of team rules."
He averaged 3.5 points and 1.4 rebounds for the Illini last season, but had a career-high 18 points to go with four rebounds and two steals in a win against Maryland at Madison Square Garden.
Underwood didn't specify how much Jones, a 6-foot-7 wing player from Chandler, Ariz., will play on Saturday.
"He's not what I consider in game shape," Underwood said. "He's in practice shape, but he's been on the treadmill, he's been doing extra workouts and understanding what his extra conditioning needs to be and working very hard at that. I'm really proud of Tev. He had some academic situations that we addressed, and he handled those. There's a lot more to being a part of this than the basketball side. We forget about the student side. We need to hold guys accountable. To his credit, he's handled that very matter-of-factly and in a great way."
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Illinois (6-2) has primarily used Da'Monte Williams and Alan Griffin off the bench. Freshman Benjamin Bosmans-Verdonk has only played more than 10 minutes off the bench twice — against The Citadel and Hampton. Senior Kipper Nichols scored a season-high nine points off the bench against Hawaii, but hasn't scored more than six points in any other game this season. Freshman big man Jermaine Hamlin has played sparingly this year and transfers Austin Hutcherson and Jacob Grandison each are required to sit out per NCAA transfer rules.
Jones gives Underwood another scorer.
"Tev gives us length, he gives us an athlete that we don't have and haven't," Underwood said. "He's a guy who can obviously make a shot. He's proven that. And Tev's got to be consistent. He hasn't played a game yet, but he's been very good in practice. He's a guy who can be a really, really hard shot maker. We'll see how that pans out with minutes and defensive assignments and so on and so forth."
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Contact Joey Wagner at (217) 421-6970. Follow him on Twitter: @mrwagner25