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Armchair Portal Preview: Marcus Domask



Illinois Basketball: Key Piece Cleared to Return

After losing Matthew Mayer to graduation, RJ Melendez to the portal, and possibly Terrence Shannon Jr. to the NBA draft, Illinois will need to add a wing between now and next season. With the transfer portal, there is no shortage of options. While the Illini have been linked to a number of big-name players in the portal, their first visit of the portal season to Champaign will be Southern Illinois wing Marcus Domask.

1. The Player

Domask is an interesting profile. At 6’6″, he has the size to play both on the perimeter as well as on the block. SIU posted him up often last year, and he can use his size and decent strength to get his shot off against smaller perimeter-oriented defenders. He also has the ability to shoot the ball, shooting 35% from three and ranking in the 70th percentile per Synergy on spot ups. Domask has also showed the ability to create for others, averaging about four assists per game the last two years. He has good feel both on the perimeter and when he posts up and will punish defenses that fall asleep on cutters.

He is by no means the best athlete, but with decent positional size graded out very well on Synergy defensively. Domask contributes on the glass as well, where he will crash on both ends. He’s not an above the rim finisher, and there will be the question of how much his level of athleticism will translate to the Big Ten level. However, with good defenders around him he shouldn’t be a complete liability. He’s an old, tough defender who can be beaten, but not bullied or bamboozled.

2. The Resume

Domask was an immediate impact player for SIU in the Missouri Valley Conference. The Wisconsin native won the 2019-20 MVC Rookie of the Year and never looked back, making the All-MVC team the next three years. Domask started all 106 games he played for the Salukis with career averages of 15 points, five rebounds and three assists. Last season he had career highs in scoring, rebounding, and free throw percentage where he shot 88% from the line. Domask was a three-star prospect out of high school, rated the 105th best Small Forward in the country by 247Sports. However, despite the lack of stars, Domask won Wisconsin Mr. Basketball in 2019.

Southern Illinois was no powerhouse and never made the NCAA Tournament in Domask’s four years there. Last year they had their highest conference finish in his four years there at third. Domask was their leading scorer all four years, and those scoring reps will help even with a likely smaller role with the Illini. Against Power Five and Big East opponents at SIU he averaged 15.4 points, 4 rebounds and 2.4 assists per game.

3. The Fit

As the headliner of the portal class, Domask might be a bit underwhelming. However, he will not be the last addition for the Illini, who will likely be adding a high-level ball handler from the portal, as well as perhaps a big or another shooter. Domask is the kind of player who can fit in just about any lineup. Due to his versatile offensive game, he can spot up around slashers like Ty Rodgers, Sencire Harris and Shannon Jr. if he returns, and graded in the 93rd percentile on unguarded catch and shoot jump shots:

He can also punish teams for trying to hide poor or small defenders on him in the post or attacking from the perimeter:

He likely isn’t going to be a major offensive hub for the Illini, but he got a lot of reps in ball screens and handoffs in his 3,700+ minutes as a Saluki. These reps will help him create for Illinois in a pinch:

As the first addition to the transfer class, I think Domansk can be a plus player on a winning team. As he is transferring up a level, one has to assume he isn’t looking to shoot 13 times a game on a non-tournament team like the last few years. His scoring experience makes him a high ceiling role player, while his positional size and general versatility give him a decently high floor.

Illinois isn’t alone in their interest for the swingman, with Clemson, Notre Dame and his home state Wisconsin among those courting Domask. It will be interesting to see if he takes any other visits.

Brian is a former sports writer for the Daily Illini who has been covering Illinois Basketball for over 5 years. Brian is now the lead basketball reporter for Armchair Illini, the go-to source for Illinois athletics news. He has had work published on Bleacher Report, Verbal Commits, USA Today and more.