Illinois basketball had a big-time player join the program from the transfer portal on Friday night.
From various media sources, it was announced that Baylor transfer Matthew Mayer had picked the Illini as his landing spot. This was a huge commitment for Illinois and one that shifts things in a big way when it comes to the roster.
Mayer isn’t transferring to Illinois to be a backup. He is going to be starting. But what does that mean for the rest of the Illinois roster?
Here is the projected Illinois basketball lineup with Matthew Mayer.
No. 1 Guard
Starter: Skyy Clark
Illinois dealt with some blows to the point guard position this offseason. With the departure of Andre Curbelo, the Illini needed someone who could run the No. 1 spot for next season. Not only did they get a point guard in Skyy Clark, but they probably upgraded in talent with Clark as well.
Clark is coming into the Illinois program as a four-star recruit and a top 30 player in the class of 2022. He was wanted by everyone in the country, but Brad Underwood and the Illini coaching staff were able to pull him in. I have Clark starting at the No. 1 guard spot for Illinois this upcoming campaign. He has all of the talent in the world and, honestly, this might be the only year he is in Champaign. That is how good I think Clark could be as a freshman.
Backup: Jayden Epps
The crazy part about the Illinois class of 2022 is the fact our backup point guard this upcoming season could easily be our starter and I wouldn’t be mad at all. Jayden Epps has a ton of talent and will be a massive impact player for the program as a freshman.
Coming into the program, Epps is a four-star recruit and ranked as the No. 67 player in the class of 2022. He is more of a combo-guard than a true point guard, but he can do everything we could ask of him at the No. 1 guard spot. I have Epps backing up Clark but look for them both to be on the court at the same time this season.