Jeff Jordan prepares for life after hoops

CHAMPAIGN, Ill. -- Michael Jordan's son, Jeff, is leaving the Illinois basketball team after two seasons.

The former walk-on guard surprised nearly everyone Wednesday by announcing that he plans to focus on his studies, just a few months after Illinois coach Bruce Weber said Jordan had a chance to earn more playing time and even a leadership role during his junior year.

"I loved playing for the Fighting Illini and appreciate the support I was given by my teammates, coaches and the great fans here," Jordan in a statement. "But I have come to the point where I'm ready to focus on life after basketball."

Jordan got a scholarship before the 2009 spring semester. In all, he appeared in 59 career games, totaling 58 points, 42 assists and 24 rebounds. A defensive specialist, Jordan averaged 8.4 minutes as a sophomore after playing 5.3 minutes per game as a true freshman.

Weber said Jordan will be missed.

"He brought great work ethic to the gym and pushed himself, as well as his teammates, each and every day to improve. We will miss him, but we fully support the decision he has made," Weber said.

Jordan starred in high school at Loyola Academy in Wilmette, a Chicago suburb, but wasn't heavily recruited. He chose to walk on at Illinois rather than accept a scholarship from Valparaiso.

At the end of last season, Weber compared the 6-1, 185-pound guard favorably to former team captain Chester Frazier, who played through his four seasons at Illinois with near-constant injuries and was considered one of the Big Ten's best defenders. He helped lead Illinois to a 24-10 record and NCAA tournament berth last season.

Illinois spokesman Kent Brown said Jordan wasn't on campus or available for further comment. Jordan, he said, never indicated any unhappiness at Illinois, nor any concern about competing for playing time against highly regarded guards D.J. Richardson, Brandon Paul and Joseph Bertrand, who will join the Illini next season.

Michael Jordan's youngest son, Marcus, has committed to playing at Central Florida next season.