Projected Illinois basketball lineup after Niccolo Moretti enters the transfer portal

The transfer portal struck again with Niccolo Moretti departing. This departure now changes the Illinois basketball lineup.
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No. 5 Center/Forward

Starter: Morez Johnson Jr. (FR)

I am excited about the addition of Morez Johnson Jr. This kid proved he was the real deal throughout his high school career, and he is now going to get a chance to prove his talent early on at Illinois.

I have Johnson starting at the No. 5 spot. He is too good of a player not to start. Johnson should be able to come in and give Illinois the more traditional big-man presence we have been missing. I think Johnson can stretch the floor a bit too. His three-point shooting is sneaky good. Look for Johnson to have a big freshman campaign for the Illini.

Backup: Jason Jakstys (FR)

While I have Jason Jakstys as the backup at the No. 5 spot, I still have a hard time seeing Brad Underwood throwing this kid to the wolves early on. I think it is more likely that Carey Booth will play the primary backup at the No. 4 and No. 5 spots. Look for Jakstys to redshirt in year one.

Backup: Transfer Portal

The last of the five scholarships remaining should go to a primary backup big man. I think there is a chance Booth ends up starting at the No. 4 spot due to some additions to the roster, so having a backup at the No. 5 who can help spell minutes for Johnson is important.

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