Malik William Clemson Basketball

Clemson sophomore forward Malik William, seen here in a photo from Clemson's sports information office.

CARBONDALE — Malik William, a 6-foot-8, 230-pound sophomore forward, has left the SIU men's basketball team, coach Bryan Mullins announced Tuesday.

William, a transfer from Clemson who redshirted last season primarily for medical reasons, was in the running to back up Northwestern graduate transfer Barret Benson at the 5 spot this season. The Salukis were in the process of applying for a hardship waiver from the NCAA when William withdrew from school because of a medical issue, Mullins said. He did not specifiy the medical issue.

"We respect Malik's decision and wish him all the best in his future," Mullins said in a statement from the SIU basketball team on Twitter.

William appeared in 17 games as a true freshman for the Tigers in 2017-18 and contributed 1.5 points and 1.5 rebounds a game for an NCAA Sweet 16 club. He suffered a concussion before the 2018-19 season and experienced concussion-type symptons deep into the first semester. William was able to practice with Clemson during the second semester but did not play.

"He was completely cleared," Mullins said in an interview with The Southern Tuesday night. "He had no symptoms that we knew about, obviously, through last spring and through the semester, and through the recruiting process."

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Benson, a 6-10 center, could give the Salukis a mobile 5 man they haven't had for several years. Mullins plans to play a four-guard lineup, but lost some depth in the middle with the loss of William. Redshirt freshman forward Sekou Dembele and junior forward Brendon Gooch now appear to be SIU's first posts off the bench.

"With the 5s, Gooch and Sekou, they're all different in different ways," Mullins said. "They all give us a different look at the 5. In terms of the four guards, we have a plethora of guards. Ronnie Suggs got here on Sunday, and we're excited to see him."

Suggs, a graduate transfer from Missouri, will also be immediately eligible this season. The 6-6 guard originally played at Bradley.

SIU returns two starters from last season's 17-15 squad, senior guards Aaron Cook and Eric McGill. Gooch, a 6-5 forward from Belleville, played in 16 games last season with one start.

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