There are multiple current Illinois basketball players who are being invited to the 2023 NBA Draft Combine.
It is highly likely that the Illini will have at least one player selected in the upcoming NBA Draft. This has been a rarity for the program, as Ayo Dosunmu in 2021 was the last player selected. You have to go back to Meyers Leonard in 2012 to find the second-to-last player Illinois has had selected. That is how scarce things have been.
But that ugly trend should be bucked. This draft will hopefully bear multiple Illinois players getting their names called on that wonderful night.
A big first step in getting selected is being invited to the 2023 NBA Draft Combine. Illinois has two players who were invited to this event. Coleman Hawkins and Terrence Shannon Jr. will have a chance to show off their abilities in front of some of the most influential people in The Association today.
Here is the full combine list, per the NBA. Note that Victor Wembanyama is not participating, with his season still in progress in France. pic.twitter.com/ddPGSkeQFg
— Jeremy Woo (@JeremyWoo) May 9, 2023
Ayo Dosunmu started a positive NBA Draft trend for the Illinois basketball program
While the drought for the Illini has been real, I think the trend is starting to head in the right direction. Ayo was picked in the 2021 NBA Draft. I believe Illinois is about to have at least one player selected in the 2023 NBA Draft.
Hawkins is a player that NBA scouts love. I think he has grown to his fullest potential in the college game, and entering the NBA will probably help him develop and blossom even more. I think he goes to the combine and impresses scouts. Don’t be surprised if Hawkins not only does well but potentially sneaks into the back end of the first round.
I think Shannon has a chance to get selected as well, but it is going to be much harder for him to stand out. There are a lot of 6-foot-5 to 6-foot-7 players who like to slash and play on the perimeter. He is going to have to really work to get noticed at the combine. It is just my opinion, but I think there is a better chance Shannon will return to Illinois than Hawkins.
That said, Illinois gets at least one player selected in the 2023 NBA Draft. That means two out of the last three drafts included a player from the Illini. The last time that happened was the 2005 and 2006 NBA Drafts.
Could Illinois have a player selected in the 2024 NBA Draft? I think the top option would be incoming transfer, Quincy Guerrier.
At 6-foot-8, 220-pounds, Guerrier can post up with his back to the basket, but he is also developing a three-point shot. He was a career-best 34.7% from three-point range this past season. A solid forward who can play multiple roles on the floor is what the NBA loves.
I think Luke Goode could be a dark horse for the 2024 NBA Draft. He is a 6-foot-7 wing who shot 42.1% from three-point range in the 10 games he played last season. Goode has the shooting, but I think his defense is what would put him over the top. He is scrappy on the floor, and that could catch NBA scout’s eyes.
Ty Rodgers is another notable option for the NBA. He has the athletic ability to wow scouts, but I think his offensive game might be a little too far away. He could be better suited for the 2025 NBA Draft.