5 projected improvements for the Illinois basketball team in 2024-25

It was a massive offseason for the Illinois basketball program, but the changes could prove good in a few areas on the court.
NCAA Men's Basketball Tournament - Practice Day - Salt Lake City
NCAA Men's Basketball Tournament - Practice Day - Salt Lake City / Christian Petersen/GettyImages
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It was an exciting 2023-24 campaign, as the Illinois basketball team managed to advance to the Elite 8.

This Illini team was special. They took us to heights we hadn’t seen in nearly two decades. Well, that team is now gone. All but two players departed, and the Illinois coaching staff managed to not only put a team together, but we have a pretty good team for the upcoming season.

There is a ton of talent that will lace up the shoes next season. Illinois, from top to bottom, is stacked with great players. In fact, I think the new roster could see some improvements from the old roster.

Here are five projected improvements for the Illinois basketball team in 2024-25

1. Rebounding the basketball

To say the Illinois basketball team might be a better rebounding team year-over-year sounds insane.

This past season, the Illini were an incredible rebounding program. We averaged 40.9 rebounds per game, which ranked No. 5 in the country. The only other Big Ten team ahead of Illinois was Purdue, and they had a giant underneath the hoop.

But when the dust settles and the 2024-25 season tips off, I honestly believe there is a chance Illinois eclipses the 40.9 rebounds per game from last season.

My reasoning is that Brad Underwood brought in tremendous size with the ability to rebound the basketball.

Illinois’ top rebounders last season were Coleman Hawkins and Quincy Guerrier. Hawkins checked in at 6-foot-10 and Guerrier at 6-foot-8. Both were solid rebounders for their size. We only had five players average over 3.0 rebounds per game last season as well.

The new roster has a lot of size and rebounding talent. There are five players coming into the program who stand at least 6-foot-9. 10 players on the roster averaged at least 3.0 rebounds per game at their last stop.

This group of players includes Morez Johnson Jr. who only stands at 6-foot-9, but he is going to be the best rebounder on the team. He logged 14.1 rebounds per game as a senior in high school. His athletic ability is going to enable him to tear up the glass.

While Illinois was fifth in the nation in rebounds, and we pulled down 40.9 rebounds per game last season, I fully expect that number to increase. Look for Illinois to once again be in the top five and average at least 41 rebounds per game in 2024-25.