May 24, 2016

CHAMPAIGN, Ill. (AP) Illinois on Tuesday dismissed junior guard Kendrick Nunn from the basketball team following his guilty plea to misdemeanor domestic battery.

Athletic director Josh Whitman and coach John Groce said in a joint statement that the decision to kick Nunn off the team was difficult.

''We care deeply about Kendrick and want him to be successful,'' the emailed statement said. ''But after extensive deliberation, we think it best for our program to reaffirm our core values of trust and respect, to send a strong message about what is acceptable behavior for our student-athletes at the University of Illinois, and to part ways with Kendrick.''

The 20-year-old from Chicago pleaded guilty last week and was sentenced to 18 months of probation and community service. If Nunn completes the terms of his sentences the charge will be removed from his record. Nunn was arrested in March after being accused of striking a woman. Prosecutors said the woman supported the deal that led to Nunn's plea.

Nunn could not immediately be reached for comment, but the attorney who represented him in the criminal case defended the way Nunn handled the situation after he was arrested. Prosecutors said last week that Nunn had admitted wrongdoing and had already started working with a local youth basketball program.

''He has done everything a person in his position could have done to right his wrongs and accept responsibility for his actions,'' Urbana lawyer Tony Bruno said.

Nunn was one of three Illini players arrested this season, but the only one to be kicked off the team.

An unrelated domestic battery charge against Jaylon Tate was dismissed last week and he was reinstated to the team. Leron Black was sentenced in April to a year of probation after pleading guilty to misdemeanor aggravated assault for pulling a knife on a bar bouncer.

Groce has said Black will sit out two exhibition games and the first four regular season games next season.

Nunn played in 96 games in his three seasons at Illinois, most of them as a starter. He missed some game time last season for the birth of his first son.

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