Illinois Basketball: Top 10 Illini transfers of all time

Dec 6, 2022; New York, New York, USA; Illinois Fighting Illini guard Terrence Shannon Jr. (0) reacts after scoring and drawing a foul against the Texas Longhorns during overtime at Madison Square Garden. Mandatory Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports
Dec 6, 2022; New York, New York, USA; Illinois Fighting Illini guard Terrence Shannon Jr. (0) reacts after scoring and drawing a foul against the Texas Longhorns during overtime at Madison Square Garden. Mandatory Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports /
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PISCATAWAY, NJ – FEBRUARY 16: The logo of the Illinois Fighting Illini worn on the uniform shorts during a game against the Rutgers Scarlet Knights at Jersey Mike’s Arena on February 16, 2022 in Piscataway, New Jersey. Rutgers defeated Illinois 70-59. (Photo by Rich Schultz/Getty Images) /

No. 1 Kenny Battle

We finally get to the best transfer in the history of the Illinois basketball program. One of the best teams ever for the Illini featured Kenny Battle and his immense talent. But his career didn’t start with the Orange and Blue.

The first stop for Battle was with Northern Illinois. He would spend two great seasons with the Huskies. Battle would average 19.9 points, 6.3 rebounds, 2.2 assists, 2.4 steals, and 1.3 blocks in those two seasons. He would make the first-team All-MAC and was an honorable mention AP All-American with Northern Illinois.

Battle would bolt the Huskies program and land with Illinois. This was one of Lou Henson’s best snags while he was coaching the program. After sitting out a season, Battle would take the reins of the Illinois basketball team and never look back.

In year one, Battle would average 15.6 points, 5.5 rebounds, 1.7 assists, and 2.2 steals per game. He would then follow those amazing numbers up with 16.6 points, 4.8 rebounds, 1.8 assists, and 2.5 steals per game in his final season with Illinois.

That two-year stretch saw a ton of winning as well. Illinois was a No. 3 seed in the NCAA tournament and made it to the second round in 1988. The following season, Battle would help lead Illinois to 31 wins and a Final Four appearance.

Battle had the numbers to be one of the best transfers in Illinois history. His numbers alone get him into the top three, but the success Illinois had on the court puts Battle over the top. He takes the No. 1 spot among the best transfers in the history of the Illinois basketball program.

Next. Top 10 NBA/ABA careers by an Illinois basketball player. dark