Top 10 most painful Illinois basketball transfer portal departures of all time

While it is amplified in today's game, the transfer portal has always had its grip on the Illinois basketball team
Penn State v Illinois
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6. Andre Curbelo

Illinois’ class of 2020 looked pretty special at one point. While Coleman Hawkins ended up sticking around and playing for a long time with the Illini, we managed to lose the other three players in that class. One of the most painful losses with Andre Curbelo.

Coming out of Long Island Lutheran High School in New York, Curbelo was a four-star recruit who was ranked as the No. 61 player in the class of 2020. He was also the No. 10 point guard in the country and the No. 3 player in the state of New York.

There were plenty of teams that showed interest in Curbelo, but he ended up picking Illinois as his landing spot. He had two productive seasons with the Illini, averaging 8.5 points, 3.8 assists, and 3.6 rebounds per game during his time in Champaign.

Curbelo was going to be the star of the show at point guard for Illinois. Coming off a Big Ten Tournament title in year one and a Big Ten regular season title in year two, the future seemed pretty bright with Curbelo. That all ended, though.

After the 2021-22 campaign ended, Curbelo entered the transfer portal. He ended up landing with St. John’s. With the Red Storm, Curbelo averaged 9.6 points, 4.3 assists, 2.8 rebounds, and 2.0 steals per game. He entered the transfer portal after his lone season with St. John’s and ended up with Southern Mississippi this past season. He averaged 13.6 points, 4.3 rebounds, 3.8 assists, and 1.6 steals per game with the Golden Eagles.

It would have been amazing to have Curbelo running the point guard position the last two seasons. We could have used him. Illinois has seen great success, but who knows how high we could have climbed with him handling the ball.