Top 3 UConn players Illinois basketball should target if Dan Hurley leaves

UConn could have their head coach depart for the NBA, and this could be an opportunity for the Illinois basketball team to pounce in the transfer portal
Duquesne v Illinois
Duquesne v Illinois / Michael Reaves/GettyImages
1 of 3

Breaking news came down the pipeline that could have Illinois basketball eyeing the transfer portal once again.

Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN reported that UConn head coach Dan Hurley and the Los Angeles Lakers are in communication about a long-term contract with talks expected to escalate in the next few days. While this has massive ramifications in the NBA world, it would arguably have a bigger impact on college basketball.

UConn has won the last two national championships, and this past season, they went through the Illini in the Elite 8 to earn the title. If Hurley were to take the Lakers’ job, that means his players, current and incoming, would have a 30-day window to enter the transfer portal.

This 30-day window is intriguing because UConn is laced with talent. There are a few players who I would love Illinois to pursue if Hurley does leave the program.

Here are the top UConn players Illinois basketball should target if Dan Hurley leaves

1. Liam McNeeley – 6-foot-7, 210-pound, Forward

Illinois has never really been in the running for Liam McNeeley, but this is a kid who has changed his mind in the past.

McNeeley is a 6-foot-7, 210-pound forward from Montverde Academy in Florida. He is rated as a five-star recruit and ranked as the No. 10 player in the class of 2024. He is also the No. 2 small forward in the country and the No. 2 player coming out of Florida.

In 2023, McNeeley took a handful of official visits. He would eventually pick Indiana as his landing spot. The Hoosiers hit some rough patches this past season, and McNeeley backed away from his commitment and landed with UConn.

As a senior with Montverde, McNeeley put up some good numbers. He averaged 12.5 points, 3.8 rebounds, 2.8 assists, and 1.0 steals per game. He shot 155 three-point attempts and knocked them down at a clip of 44.0%.

If Illinois went out and snagged McNeeley, I firmly believe he would start at the No. 2 spot on the court. With his shooting, he would fill the traditional shooting guard role. Kylan Boswell would start at the No. 1 guard spot. I think Tre White, Ty Rodgers, and Morez Johnson Jr. then likely round out the starting rotation.