Projected Illinois basketball lineup with the addition of Tomislav Ivisic

Depth is key to winning in the future, and the Illinois basketball team added a player who will help change the lineup for next season
IUPUI v Illinois
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No. 5 Center/Forward

Starter: Morez Johnson Jr. (FR)

Illinois has brought in some great high school big men over the years. Deon Thomas, Brian Cook, Shaun Pruitt, Meyers Leonard, and Kofi Cockburn are just a few of them. Morez Johnson Jr. might end up being the best out of the bunch, though.

Johnson is coming in from Thornton Township where he put up massive numbers. He averaged 17.2 points, 14.1 rebounds, 3.5 assists, 3.4 blocks, and 2.5 steals per game as a senior. I believe Johnson can bring a lot of those numbers with him, as he is a strong and athletic big man. Illinois needs a bruiser in the paint, and we get that with Johnson. I fully expect Johnson to be at worst a member of the All-Big Ten Freshman team. He should be starting at the No. 5 spot for the Illini.

Backup: Tomislav Ivisic (FR)

On Monday, Illinois was able to land a huge addition to the program. We needed a backup who could come into the program and give us important minutes. I didn’t think we had that in Jason Jakstys because he was a freshman. But Brad Underwood came through with the addition of Tomislav Ivisic.

Ivisic is a 7-foot-1, 230-pound center from Croatia. He averaged 7.1 points, 3.8 rebounds, and 1.3 assists per game last season with SC Derby Podgorica. I don’t think Ivisic will be relied on to put up huge numbers, but he is going to be more of an enforcer. I like him as a primary backup at the No. 5 spot.

Backup: Jason Jakstys (FR)

The final player in the lineup is incoming freshman Jason Jakstys. I like Jakstys’ game, but I think he is still a little raw and will need time to develop. With the addition of Ivisic, he will have that time to develop. Illinois will be able to play Jakstys on a limited blowout basis, and I believe he will eventually take a redshirt.

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