Illini expect Jereme Richmond back

Illinois freshman forward Jereme Richmond has participated in team workouts this week and is expected to return next season, Illini coach Bruce Weber said on Tuesday.

Richmond missed both of Illinois' NCAA tournament games due to an athletic department violation, and his future with the team had been rumored to be in doubt.

"He's part of the program," Weber said. "If he makes the progress he's supposed to, he'll be there."

High expectations were placed on Richmond this season after having been committed to the program since his high school freshman year and being selected a McDonald's All-American last season. He showed flashes of his ability, scoring in double figures in 10 games, but also struggled at times this season.

He averaged 7.6 points, 5.0 rebounds and 22 minutes this season.

"He's kind of like our team," Weber said. "He had some shining moments, really showed well, showed like the kid can be special. He also had to mature, grow up and be more consistent in all areas of his life."

Earlier in the season, Richmond also returned home for personal reasons, which resulted in him missing practice and being sat out against Wisconsin on Jan. 15.

Scott Powers covers high school and college sports for ESPNChicago.com and can be reached at spowers@espnchicago.com.