Final offseason, Brad Underwood used the switch portal to fill each necessary beginning positions and depth with the additions of Alfonso Plummer and Omar Payne. This 12 months, in response to 247 Sports activities, Illinois has the second-best switch within the class within the nation with the additions of Matthew Mayer, Terrence Shannon and Dain Dainja (and Brad might not be performed).
This incoming switch class has the potential for including a prime scorer and a number of starters, so let’s preview this loaded switch class.
When Matthew Mayer transferred from Baylor and dedicated to Illinois over North Carolina, Texas Tech and Memphis, it shocked many within the faculty basketball world. He initially declared for the NBA draft however withdrew and dedicated to Illinois.
Mayer is a 6-foot-9 ahead who can play a number of positions on the ground. He was a member of the 2020-21 Baylor nationwide title crew, the place he averaged 8.1 factors and performed an important position off the bench. This previous season Mayer averaged 9.8 factors and 5 rebounds and shot 32.4% from 3. This was a lower from 39.5% which he shot throughout Baylor’s championship season.
One other power is that Mayer is a good all-around participant, particularly at behind the arc each on-ball and off-ball. Underwood will run performs to free him to get open photographs all through the season. He’s typically a streaky shooter and may be particularly productive if constant.
Mayer prides himself on his protection the place he performs with grit. He has averaged 1.2 steals over the previous two seasons and may defend a number of positions. At Baylor, he did not have sufficient enjoying time to play to his full capability, however being the first possibility at instances for Illinois, will permit him to play to his full potential.
Mayer might want to shoot persistently from three and midrange, particularly whereas the freshman are adjusting to the school sport. He ceiling could also be an NBA position participant.
Terrence Shannon is a 6-foot-6 small ahead who transferred from Texas Tech. He chooses Illinois over Michigan, Florida State and Georgetown. In his sophomore season, he was named to the All-Massive 12 Third-Workforce when he averaged 12.9 factors. Shannon is an athletic participant who is very explosive when attacking the online. He has first step and is thought for his highly effective dunks.
In comparison with his sophomore season, Shannon had a down junior season the place he averaged 10.4 factors and a couple of.6 rebounds per sport. He was a productive three-point shooter and averaged 38%.
Shannon defends at a excessive degree, which helped Texas Tech to grow to be the most effective defenses within the nation. He makes use of his size to maintain defenders in entrance of him. This can permit Brad Underwood a lot of flexibility on the defensive finish when deciding matchups.
Shannon wants to enhance his mid-range taking pictures skill as he has struggled to shoot persistently and create his shoot. He has additionally had issues with accidents up to now so staying wholesome shall be essential for Shannon to have success with the Illini this upcoming season. I anticipate Shannon to play an necessary beginning position for the Illini all through the season.
Dain Dainja is a 6-foot-9 middle and has a 7-foot-6 wingspan. Popping out of highschool, Dainja was a former top-100 prospect and dedicated to Baylor. He red-shirted his first 12 months of faculty after which transferred to Illinois.
This previous season he sat out and labored the complete 12 months with the Illinois power and conditioning coach. Dainja has solely performed 9 minutes of faculty basketball however he’s anticipated to be an athletic and versatile participant. Underwood additionally described him as comfy with each dealing with and passing the basketball and has work ethic.
It’s onerous to know what to anticipate from Dainja as a result of he has performed so little time in faculty. Dainja will hopefully have a strong offensive sport however defensively it’s unclear. He would be the beginning middle for the start of the season and break up his enjoying time with Coleman Hawkins.
Dainja is a vital likelihood for Underwood to indicate how his program can develop gamers. With Dainja producing at a beginning or higher degree, it’ll permit the Illini to seek out extra success as a crew this upcoming season.
For the upcoming season, these transfers are essential for the success of the Illini. Particularly in the direction of the start of the season, the freshmen will depend on the expertise and talent of the transfers.
Each Matthew Mayer and Terrence Shannon will play beginning roles and Mayer will carry the load of scoring all through the season. Dain Dainja will see time beginning however may break up beginning minutes with Coleman Hawkins and RJ Melendez.
All of the incoming transfers have athleticism and size, which is able to give Underwood flexibility within the positions he’ll play them. The incoming transfers have excessive expectations which is able to hopefully translate to the upcoming season.