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How Sencire Harris Can Help Illinois Basketball’s PG Situation



How Sencire Harris Can Help Illinois Basketball's PG Situation
Dec 29, 2022; Champaign, Illinois, USA; Illinois Fighting Illini guard Sencire Harris (1) drives the ball around Bethune-Cookman Wildcats center Dylan Robertson (22) during the first half at State Farm Center. Mandatory Credit: Ron Johnson-USA TODAY Sports

How Sencire Harris Can Help Illinois Basketball’s PG Situation

Illinois Basketball has a point guard issue. Jayden Epps and Skyy Clark are two guards who Illinois heavily invested in, however, both have left the program. Illinois was left without a primary ball-handler, however went hard after RayJ Dennis. Dennis looked to be an Illinois lock, however, RayJ drew his recruitment out very long and ultimately left Illinois at the altar in favor of Baylor. Because of this, Illinois found itself at the beginning of June without any options available to go after. Brad Underwood has tried to sell Ty Rodgers as the point guard of this team. Through four games, it is very clear that this is not the answer.

Ty is not a point guard. He is a strong passer, however, Illinois Basketball barely runs any actions with Ty breaking down the offense and setting his teammates up. This has left Terrence Shannon and Marcus Domask to make decisions in the half-court. If anyone saw the end of the Marquette game, Illinois needed an established ball-handler to make decisions in a close game. Ty Rodgers and Terrence Shannon Jr cannot be asked to do this, especially when it comes to March.

What can Sencire Do?

Sencire Harris had an interesting freshman year. He won the hearts of many by playing extremely hard and playing with consistent energy. Harris wore his emotions on his sleeve and did a great job knocking veteran guards like Boo Buie, Tyger Campbell and Marcus Carr off their kilter. In all honesty, Sencire was a main catalyst in turning around some key games for Illinois Basketball. Despite his energy, the Ohio native was still rather limited in other aspects. He was seen as more of a specialist. Harris could come off the bench for 15 minutes and give the primary ball handler some fits. If he could do that, Sencire could have been used as the jolt off the bench.

However, Sencire Harris decided to redshirt this year. Though many speculate how that means he will ultimately enter the transfer portal, the young guard can still carve out a very important role for this team. Illinois Basketball needs to go all-in on Dra Gibbs-Lawhorn as their point guard and Sencire Harris needs to show up to every practice and make his day as difficult as possible.

Illinois Basketball must take this risk.

Purdue also had a similar situation last year. They allowed true freshman, Braden Smith, to take the reigns and gain some valuable experience at the beginning. Matt Painter allowed Smith to make mistakes throughout the year before becoming one of the better point guards in the country. He averaged 10 points and 2.5 assists during his first four games. If Illinois wants to reach their full potential this season, they need an on-ball guard to direct traffic in crunch time. Terrence Shannon and Coleman Hawkins should not be asked to do this.

Underwood clearly has some qualms with Ty Rodgers running things as well. Rodgers is still working out how to facilitate at the point-guard spot and is a liability with his free-throw percentage. Their best option is Dra Gibbs-Lawhorn. Lawhorn has to take the reigns with confidence and Brad Underwood has to continue to coach him without hurting the freshman’s confidence. There may be some games where Illinois messes up due to their true freshman lead guard. Despite this, I do think this is a reasonable risk to take so that Illinois can have the most success when it matters.

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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.