Transfer portal gives Illinois basketball another shot at top Chicago point guard

Illinois basketball might miss on players the first time, but the transfer portal has given us another chance with some former top recruits
Kansas State v Iowa State
Kansas State v Iowa State / Jay Biggerstaff/GettyImages

There are always players who the Illinois basketball team misses out on but eventually become available again down the road.

This was the case with Kylan Boswell. The Illini were so close to landing him the first time around, but he committed to Arizona. Now Boswell is back home and playing for the Orange and Blue.

I believe this could be a great path for Dai Dai Ames. Coming out of Kenwood Academy in Chicago, Ames was a four-star recruit who was ranked as the No. 64 player in the class of 2023. He was also the No. 13 point guard in the country and the No. 2 player coming out of Illinois.

Illinois recruited Ames the first time around. He was a Kenwood product, and Ames played for the Mac Irvin Fire of the AAU circuit, which helped develop players like Ayo Dosunmu, Adam Miller, and Da’Monte Williams, to name a few.

Ames ended up picking Kansas State as his landing spot, though. In 2023-24, Ames ended up averaging 5.2 points, 2.0 assists, and 1.1 rebounds per game with the Wildcats.

On Sunday, Joe Tipton of reported that Ames’ time with Kansas State is done. Ames has entered the transfer portal. Tipton also mentions that Ames has the “do not contact” tag, but he also has the “fully open” tag as well.

Illinois basketball seemed close with transfer portal point guard Dai Dai Ames during his original recruitment

It always hurts not landing in-state kids the first time around. Ames was a great player at the high school level, and he is really developing into a nice point guard.

Illinois definitely seemed to be a contender for Ames’ commitment throughout his recruiting process as well. In a December 2021 article by Brandon Jenkins of 247Sports, Ames talked about the Illinois program and Brad Underwood.

“I talk to Brad Underwood and he likes my scoring ability,” Ames said. “Their facilities and how they practice stood out as well. Another thing that caught my attention was how big the campus was.”

Before that interview with Jenkins, Ames visited the Illinois campus in October 2021, and Derek Piper of 247Sports reported that Ames loved the visit.

Ames would be a great piece to the puzzle as well. Right now, Illinois is extremely thin at guard. We have the new addition of Boswell. Illinois has Dra Gibbs-Lawhorn who I have projected as the starting No. 2 guard.

If Ames comes to Champaign, I would likely move Boswell over to the starting No. 2 guard and have Ames start at the No. 1 guard spot. Gibbs-Lawhorn would back up Boswell and Ames.

Ames is a good player who could blossom into an All-Big Ten point guard as a sophomore. Let’s see if Illinois becomes a player in the second recruitment of this former in-state four-star.

Next. Former Illinois basketball recruiting target enters transfer portal. Former Illinois basketball recruiting target enters transfer portal. dark