Jereme Richmond says he's 'Illini for life'

Freshman forward Jereme Richmond cleared the air Monday, saying rumors circulating over the weekend about him transferring from Illinois were false.

"I dealt with some personal issues last week that caused me to miss two practices while I was home with my family in Waukegan," Richmond said in a statement. "With the help of Coach [Bruce] Weber and my family, I have worked through this situation. I appreciate their support and the support of my teammates for getting me through a difficult time.

"Unfortunately, my absence led to some false rumors that I want to put to rest. I have been, and always will be, 100 percent committed to the Illinois basketball program. My coaches and teammates are my family, and I'm looking forward to helping our team achieve our goals. I am an Illini for life."

Big Ten Network analyst Jim Jackson ignited the talk when he tweeted Saturday that an unnamed source told him Richmond may leave Illinois. Jackson later retracted the tweet.

Richmond is expected to play on Tuesday against Michigan State.

Richmond committed to Illinois as a high school freshman and went on to become a McDonald's All-American at Waukegan. He is averaging 7.4 points and 4.5 rebounds in 20.2 minutes this season.

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