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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3. Converting at the charity stripe

Shockingly, Illinois didn’t have a putrid free throw shooting team in 2023-24. This program was able to convert at the charity strip.

Illinois managed to get to the free throw line and convert at a rate of 73.6% last season. This was good enough to rank No. 107 in the country. It is also a welcomed sight after shooting just 67.9% from the charity stripe the year before.

There were multiple reasons why the free throw percentage took a big leap last season. Dain Dainja not seeing a lot of playing time helped. Illinois also had big improvements from Coleman Hawkins and Terrence Shannon Jr. from the free throw line.

Illinois’ roster was gutted, and despite having a solid free throw shooting team last season, I think we could see an improvement with the squad in 2024-25.

Let’s just look at the key players who are going to see a ton of minutes. Kylan Boswell is going to be a star for the Illini, and he shot 79.5% from the charity stripe with Arizona last season.

I couldn’t find a free throw percentage for Will Riley, but he is clearly a good shooter. Kasparas Jakucionis, Ben Humrichous, and Tre White will all be huge contributors to the Illinois basketball team. They shot 88.6%, 75.7%, and 75.2% from the free throw line last season, respectively.

The only players I would keep an eye on with free throw shooting are Ty Rodgers and Morez Johnson Jr. Even with that, Rodgers improved from 38.7% to 58.5% in his first two years in college from the free throw line. I expect another jump for him this season. Johnson still managed to shoot 66.0% from the free throw line as a senior. With a little work, he should be up to 70% as a freshman.

Look for Illinois to crack the top 100 nationally in free throw shooting in 2024-25. I think we have a team that can not only get to the charity stripe, but we can convert as well.