5 big questions for the Illinois basketball team against Nebraska

Jan 24, 2024; Evanston, Illinois, USA;   Illinois Fighting Illini head coach Brad Underwood looks on
Jan 24, 2024; Evanston, Illinois, USA; Illinois Fighting Illini head coach Brad Underwood looks on / Matt Marton-USA TODAY Sports
2 of 5

2. Is a three-headed monster forming for Illinois?

I mentioned in a recent article that I didn’t want to live in the past anymore. It is time to start making some modern-day history with the program.

With that being said, I can’t help but think of the great three-headed monster of Deron Williams, Dee Brown, and Luther Head. This trio was so special for the Illini. That backcourt was legendary, and now Illinois has a nice backcourt forming in Champaign this season.

So, is there a new three-headed monster forming? Does Illinois have one of those special all-time caliber backcourts?

I am not ready to pull the trigger and say that the current Illini backcourt is all-time caliber just yet. They aren’t close to what that 2005 backcourt was either. But I think Illinois is on the verge of having a dangerous three-headed monster that can do some damage and become an all-time group.

Terrence Shannon Jr. is a great player and has been the entire season. As he awaits his preliminary hearing in May on a charge of rape, he is an important piece to the Illini guard rotation. He put up 23 points, three rebounds, three assists, and two blocks against the Buckeyes.

Alongside Shannon in the backcourt are Marcus Domask and Ty Rodgers. Domask joined Shannon with 23 points but also added three rebounds and two assists against Ohio State. Rodgers was the third wheel when it came to scoring with 13 points, but he contributed a team-high 10 rebounds while also adding two assists and one steal.

This Illinois backcourt has a lot of talent. They also bring different skill sets to the table that can throw off a defense. Shannon can hit from anywhere on the court. Rodgers is great at slashing and can play like he is a 7-foot-1 big man. Domask has the ability to shoot from three-point range, but he is great at backing down his man and collapsing the defense.

I want to see if this trio in the Illinois backcourt can carry Illinois moving forward. They put up some special numbers against Ohio State, and I believe they can do that for the rest of the season. We might be witnessing something special in Champaign.