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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5. Alan Griffin

Illinois has lost some big-time playmakers over the years, and I would put Alan Griffin up there with one of the biggest playmaking departures in program history.

Griffin was a highly-touted New York prospect coming out of Archbishop Stepinac High School. Despite only being a three-star recruit who was ranked as the No. 182 player in the class of 2018, Griffin had all of the talent in the world. You could tell this kid was going to be good.

Illinois was able to land the talented shooter. He entered the program for the 2018-19 campaign and looked good as a freshman. Griffin averaged 2.8 points and 1.6 rebounds in 7.8 minutes per game in year one.

As a sophomore, Griffin broke out and had a big year. Despite COVID-19 canceling the NCAA tournament, Griffin still showed off by averaging 8.9 points and 4.5 rebounds per game. He also hit 41.6% from three-point range.

I thought Griffin was going to come back and be a big part of the Illinois basketball team for the 2020-21 campaign. This was his chance to show off on a big stage. That never happened, though.

Following his sophomore season, Griffin entered the transfer portal. He ended up going back home and committed to Syracuse. With the Orange, Griffin averaged 13.3 points, 5.8 rebounds, 1.8 assists, 1.6 blocks, and 1.2 steals per game. He entered the NBA Draft after the season and is now playing in the G-League.

Illinois had a special 2020-21 campaign. We went 24-7 overall and 16-4 in the Big Ten. I can’t help but think, could we have advanced deep in the NCAA tournament if Griffin was on the team? That is a possibility because of his playmaking ability.