Final offseason, Brad Underwood used the switch portal to fill each vital beginning positions and depth with the additions of Alfonso Plummer and Omar Payne. This 12 months, in line with 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 is probably not performed).
This incoming switch class has the opportunity of including a high 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 workforce, the place he averaged 8.1 factors and performed a vital 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 pictures all through the season. He’s typically a streaky shooter and could 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 might defend a number of positions. At Baylor, he did not have sufficient taking part in time to play to his full capability, however being the first choice at occasions for Illinois, will enable him to play to his full potential.
Mayer might want to shoot constantly from three and midrange, particularly whereas the freshman are adjusting to the faculty recreation. 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-Crew when he averaged 12.9 factors. Shannon is an athletic participant who is particularly explosive when attacking the online. He has a very good first step and is understood 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 recreation. He was a productive three-point shooter and averaged 38%.
Shannon defends at a excessive stage, which helped Texas Tech to turn out to be the most effective defenses within the nation. He makes use of his size to maintain defenders in entrance of him. This can enable Brad Underwood plenty 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 constantly and create his shoot. He has additionally had issues with accidents prior to now so staying wholesome will probably be essential for Shannon to have success with the Illini this upcoming season. I count on Shannon to play an vital 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 school after which transferred to Illinois.
This previous season he sat out and labored all the 12 months with the Illinois power and conditioning coach. Dainja has solely performed 9 minutes of school basketball however he’s anticipated to be an athletic and versatile participant. Underwood additionally described him as snug with each dealing with and passing the basketball and has a very good work ethic.
It’s arduous to know what to anticipate from Dainja as a result of he has performed so little time in faculty. Dainja will hopefully have a stable offensive recreation however defensively it’s unclear. He would be the beginning middle for the start of the season and cut up his taking part in time with Coleman Hawkins.
Dainja is a crucial likelihood for Underwood to point out how his program can develop gamers. With Dainja producing at a beginning or higher stage, it should enable the Illini to seek out extra success as a workforce this upcoming season.
For the upcoming season, these transfers are essential for the success of the Illini. Particularly in direction of the start of the season, the freshmen will depend on the expertise and ability 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 cut up beginning minutes with Coleman Hawkins and RJ Melendez.
All of the incoming transfers have athleticism and size, which can give Underwood flexibility within the positions he’ll play them. The incoming transfers have excessive expectations which can hopefully translate to the upcoming season.