Top 10 Illinois basketball transfers of all time

The transfer portal has helped the Illinois basketball program a lot over the decades with some of the incoming transfers playing some big minutes.

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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No. 6 Craig Tucker

It was the early 1980s that kicked off a great run of Illinois basketball. Lou Henson had this program buzzing, and one of the players who helped elevate the program was Craig Tucker.

The 6-foot-1 guard entered the college ranks at the junior college level. Thanks to grades that weren’t up to many college standards, Tucker would have to start out at Coffeyville Community College.

With the Red Ravens, Tucker would shine. He would end up averaging 23.9 points per game during his two seasons with the program. He was also a third-team All-American as a freshman and a first-team All-American as a sophomore.

Illinois would come calling after two seasons with Coffeyville. Tucker answered the call and joined Henson and the Illinois program.

During his final season with the Illini, Tucker would average 15.5 points, 2.4 rebounds, 2.9 assists, and 1.1 steals per game. He would also help guide Illinois to 21 wins and the Sweet 16 in year one with the Illini.

When you think about Illinois all-time greats, Tucker doesn’t come to mind. But he was one of the best players and one of the best transfers in program history. Henson landing Tucker out of Coffeyville helped set the stage for one of the best 10-year runs ever in Champaign.