Illinois Basketball: Report has Illini landing former 4-star guard Makira Cook

Dayton's Makira Cook and URI's Mayé Touré fighting for possession under the Rams hoop.
Dayton's Makira Cook and URI's Mayé Touré fighting for possession under the Rams hoop. /

It looks like the women’s Illinois basketball program is joining the fun of the transfer portal this offseason.

After a five-season stretch where the Illini went 42-99 overall and only topped that 29.7% winning rate with a Big Ten record of 7-77 or 8.2% during that same stretch, a regime change occurred within the women’s program. Illinois went out and got one of the best coaches in college basketball in Dayton’s Shauna Green.

Green has stepped into her new role, and there is already a different feeling about the program. She comes in with a winning pedigree and the fire to turn this program around.

With every coaching change there comes transfers. So far this offseason, Illinois has lost their leading scorer and third-leading scorer to the transfer portal. While it hurts to lose members of the family, it is all a part of the process. Despite those two losses, Green is bringing in some talent that wouldn’t otherwise be in Champaign.

According to Tom Archdeacon of the Dayton Daily News, Makira Cook has committed to the Illini. The quote from the article reads.

"Makira Cook, UD’s leading scorer and Most Improved Player in the Atlantic 10 last season, and 6-foot-5 Tenin Magassa, the Flyers top shot blocker and second leading rebounder.Both entered the transfer portal after coach Shauna Green left for Illinois 13 days ago.Cook already has committed to the Fighting Illini."

Illinois basketball may not be done adding talent from the transfer portal.

Coming out of Mount Notre Dame High School in Ohio, Cook was a four-star recruit and ranked as the No. 95 player in the class of 2020. She would choose her home state program, Dayton, as her landing spot.

With the Flyers, Cook blossomed into a true star. She earned the Most Improved Player award in the Atlantic 10 this past season, and she also led Dayton in scoring and was second on the team in both assists and steals. Cook’s 14.8 points, 3.8 rebounds, 2.9 assists, and 1.2 steals per game helped the Flyers advance past the play-in game in the NCAA tournament.

I am also impressed by Cook’s three-point ability. She was third on the team in three-point attempts last season and hit them at a clip of 38%. The best player on the Illini last season from three-point range hit 37.3% from deep.

Illinois might be in the running for one of Dayton’s former pledges as well. Archdeacon mentions in the article that the Flyers also lost Kam’ren Rhodes, who backed away from her commitment once Green took the job with the Illini. This is a name to keep an eye on moving forward.

It is time to get excited about the women’s Illinois basketball program. We have a coach in place who is going to turn this team around. It might take a couple of years, but there are definitely some positive vibes coming from this tremendous hire.

Next. Pac-12 transfer receiving interest from the Illini. dark