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How Illinois Basketball’s Freshmen Impressed in Spain



How Illinois Basketball's Freshmen Impressed in Spain
Mar 16, 2023; Des Moines, IA, USA; Illinois Fighting Illini fans cheer against the Arkansas Razorbacks during the first half at Wells Fargo Arena. Mandatory Credit: Jeffrey Becker-USA TODAY Sports

How Illinois Basketball’s Freshmen Impressed in Spain

Illinois Basketball has had to rely on freshmen pretty heavily for most of the past few years. From the time Trent Frazier arrived on campus, him and Da’Monte Williams played pretty large roles from the jump. Ayo Dosunmu arrived and was immediately the team’s go-to player. Kofi Cockburn arrived and completely changed the trajectory of Illinois Basketball. Adam Miller and Andre Curbelo were substantial pieces in a team that made a late season run. This past year, Jayden Epps, Sencire Harris and Ty Rodgers all found pretty significant roles on a young team.

This coming year may not be the case for that trend. Terrence Shannon Jr and Coleman Hawkins are the two stars playing their final year of college basketball. Quincy Guerrier, Marcus Domask and Justin Harmon are all integral role pieces that are also in their 5th year of college basketball. Dain Dainja is technically a senior. However, this does not erase the fact that Illinois Basketball always brings in talented freshmen. These two freshmen were very good in their debuts overseas.

Dravyn Gibbs-Lawhorn

Dra Gibbs-Lawhorn has stolen the offseason. He has shown a promising skill set and tenacity that fans have gravitated towards. Dravyn is a streaky shooter, however is comfortable in ball-screen offense and has pretty good athleticism. He reminds me a lot of Rutgers star, Corey Sanders. Gibbs-Lawhorn did not have the best overseas trip from a statistical standpoint, however his skillset was on display. DGL plays exceptionally hard and will certainly have a game or two where he injects life into the Illinois Basketball team.

The youngster averaged 4 rebounds on the trip. If he can do that well and make plays off the bounce, Gibbs-Lawhorn can really help this team.

Amani Hansberry

Amani Hansberry was impressive. Hansberry struggled with finishing around the rim in the first game, however once he settled in, the 4 star forward was a beast. In the last two games, Amani averaged 16 points and 10 rebounds on 66.6% fg percentage. To make matters more impressive, out of the 10 rebounds averaged, 7 were offensive boards. It is easier for bigs to dominate against lesser talent, and Hansberry has a traffic jam in front of him. However, Amani showed that he already has the instincts and basketball savvy to be in the right place and haul in all rebounds. He reminds me a lot of Zed Key at this point in time. However, if Hansberry continues to develop, I can see him becoming a more versatile offensive piece like Notre Dame star, Bonzie Colson.

Hansberry will certainly have plenty of playing time his sophomore year. Coleman Hawkins will likely leave and Quincy Guerrier will be out of college eligibility. Dain Dainja may or may not move on as well, leaving Hansberry and Morez Johnson as the big men of the future.

Alex is the Owner of, your go-to source for in depth coverage of the Illinois Fighting Illini. Alex is also the lead content creator and lead editor of all articles on Armchair Illini. He has had articles featured in top media publications like Bleacher Report, YardBarker, Verbal Commits, CBS Sports and more.