Shauna Green navigating transfer portal masterfully to strengthen Illinois basketball

I think it is fair to say that the women's Illinois basketball team is here to stay, as long as Shauna Green is leading the way
Maryland v Illinois
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Incredible. That is one of the best words to describe the job Shauna Green has done for the women’s Illinois basketball team.

7-20 overall and 1-13 in the Big Ten in the season prior to taking over, Green took a leap of faith and departed her great job at Dayton for a floundering Illini program in Champaign.

Green has not only taken the jump to the Big Ten in stride, but she has also handled the updated recruiting world better than anyone. I would argue Green and men’s head coach Brad Underwood are two of the top coaches in the country when it comes to juggling traditional recruiting and the transfer portal.

This offseason, Green continued her tear in the transfer portal. Not only does the Illini have a returning roster full of great talent coming back, but we also added two huge transfer portal players who will bolster depth and enable the program to get back to the NCAA tournament.

About a month ago, the Illini added Jasmine Brown-Hagger, a 5-foot-9 wing from Mississippi State. Originally from Shorewood, Illinois, Brown-Hagger had a solid freshman campaign with the Bulldogs, dropping 2.1 points and 1.5 rebounds per game. She should be able to help on the wing and give our backcourt some rest.

Illinois wasn’t done adding just one transfer portal talent, though. On Wednesday, we also added Lety Vasconcelos. She is a 6-foot-7 center from Baylor. Vasconcelos played her freshman season with the Bears, as she logged 1.1 points and 2.1 rebounds in just 5.9 minutes per game.

Why was this such a big addition for the Illini? Well, we have Kendall Bostic returning for one more season, and she will start at the No. 5 spot. But Illinois is losing a huge piece with Camille Hobby graduating. Hobby was a massive transfer portal addition last season, and she had arguably the best jumper on the team. Hobby’s presence is going to be missed greatly. Thankfully, we have someone like Vasconcelos now coming into the program who will replace Hobby’s 6-foot-3 size.

Illinois basketball has added building blocks through the transfer portal this offseason

In the last two seasons, Illinois has made a return to the NCAA tournament and we won the inaugural WBIT. Those are two things to hang our hat on and build for the future.

Illinois returns most of the roster from last season as well. We could have easily lost Makira Cook, Genesis Bryant, and Bostic to graduation, but all three decided to return.

What Green is doing by landing both Brown-Hagger and Vasconcelos is inserting building blocks into this program. Sure, they will get playing time this season, but adding these two talented transfer portal players to the roster isn’t about the micro. It is about the macro.

Illinois has a ton of talent on the roster entering the 2024-25 campaign. Brown-Hagger and Vasconcelos will be depth pieces this upcoming season. In 2025-26, they will enter a more prominent role and become strong contenders for starting roles.

Green has Illinois on the right path, and she is building the program to win now and in the future. I am glad she is captaining our ship.

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