Illinois State men’s basketball defeated Evansville 80-69 Friday to advance to the semi-finals of the MVC tournament.

Another one gone.

Illinois State men’s basketball roster decreased yet again, with the loss of 6-foot-6 junior forward DJ Clayton. ISU announced Tuesday that Clayton will be given release from his athletic scholarship.

Clayton earned a spot on the Missouri Valley Conference All-Bench Team. He averaged 6.5 points per game, 4.3 rebounds and 1.4 assists while averaging 24.6 minutes per game. Clayton played in all 35 games and started five.

The Oakland, Calif. native started at Western Kentucky University before transferring to Palm Beach State College.

“It was a great feeling to be on one of the most amazing teams to ever play at ISU and contribute in the way that I did,” Clayton said. “I’m appreciative of the opportunity given to me by the coaches, and I care about them, as well as my teammates, dearly. Thank you to all who supported me and this program, but with that being said, I’m transferring to find a school in a different location.”

Clayton’s departure only adds to the hole that has grown among ISU’s top players. The team lost Paris Lee, Deontae Hawkins, Tony Wills (graduation) and MiKyle McIntosh (NBA draft).

Sophomore Phil Fayne is the only returning starter and five of the top eight players in Muller’s rotation are gone. Sophomore Keyshawn Evans (currently recovering from labrum surgery), David Ndiaye and Fayne are the remaining three.

The team will add freshman Taylor Bruninga and junior transfer Zach Copeland. The loss of Clayton opens another scholarship for Muller and his staff.

With the loss of Clayton, next year’s roster will have no seniors.

Beth Geistlinger is Sports Editor for The Vidette. She can be reached at vidette_ergeist@ilstu.edu Follow her on Twitter at @beth_geist

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