Illinois Basketball: Top 5 Illini hopes and expectations for the New Year

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5. Illinois to secure a wing via recruiting or transfer portal

While doing some Illinois basketball research, I noticed one glaring fact about the future. Illinois is going to lose a ton of talent from this year’s team.

The top four scorers for the Illini – Terrence Shannon Jr., Marcus Domask, Quincy Guerrier, Coleman Hawkins – will all depart the program after the season concludes. That is a lot of talent to replace entering the 2024-25 campaign.

I do like what Illinois has returning. I see Niccolo Moretti starting at the No. 1 spot. Luke Goode should be the starter at the No. 2 spot. Ty Rodgers could be the starter at the No. 3 spot. I love the possibility of Morez Johnson Jr. coming in and starting at the No. 4 spot. And then Amani Hansberry starting at the No. 5 spot.

That is a talented starting five that I believe could do a lot of damage in the Big Ten. But I also see a massive hole in perimeter scoring in that lineup. Illinois’ bench won’t have much scoring either, as someone like Justin Harmon will also be departing.

So, in the New Year, I want to see Illinois go out into the recruiting field or transfer portal and snag a talented wing who can put up some serious points off the bench.

This player doesn’t need to be a starter. I wouldn’t mind a scenario of adding someone like a Domask-type who could help mainly just in the scoring department. He could be a sixth man for the Illini and help spark some scoring runs.

I just see a lack of perimeter scoring in the future for Illinois. We have good pieces in addition to Johnson coming from the class of 2024, but relying on freshmen for scoring might be difficult for Brad Underwood to handle. The transfer portal is the most likely route, and I would love to pull a nice wing out of the portal this summer.

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