Illinois basketball has started the 2023-24 season off well, with our record currently standing at 4-1.
Through the first five games, the usual suspects have been playing well. But there have been a few surprises for the Illini.
Here are five surprises to start the 2023-24 Illinois basketball season
1. Luke Goode has started the season on fire
With only a 10-game sample size in 2022-23, Illinois fans were clamoring to see more of Luke Goode. The Fort Wayne native had all of the talent in the world, but we haven’t been able to see it on full display.
Goode has started his junior season on fire. His shooting numbers have been off the charts, as he is Illinois’ best perimeter threat. Goode has taken 30 three-pointers this season, second on the team, and has made them at a clip of 46.7%.
If you can make your three-pointers at a rate of 40%, that is impressive. When you get your shooting percentage to over 45%, then that is special. You don’t see that type of shooting anywhere in basketball. He is also averaging 8.8 points per game, good enough for No. 3 on the team.
While Goode has been shooting lights out, everyone knew he was a good shooter. I have always enjoyed his hustle too. So far this season, Goode is averaging an outstanding 5.2 rebounds per game, which is fourth on the team. That is how great he has been on the boards.
Goode is getting 20.6 minutes per game off the bench this season. The fact an Illinois bench player can be No. 3 in scoring, No. 4 in rebounding, and our best three-point shooter is crazy. Goode has had a special start to the 2023-24 season. He is a vital piece to the championship puzzle.