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Illinois Basketball Gains an Open Scholarship



Illinois Basketball Gains an Open Scholarship
Mar 16, 2023; Des Moines, IA, USA; Illinois Fighting Illini head coach Brad Underwood reacts after a play against the Arkansas Razorbacks during the first half at Wells Fargo Arena. Mandatory Credit: Reese Strickland-USA TODAY Sports

Illinois Basketball Gains an Open Scholarship

Illinois Basketball’s summer started off with some eventful news. They successfully returned their two stars, Terrence Shannon Jr and Coleman Hawkins. Despite the good news that vaults them to the upper half of the conference, Illinois failed to address their most glaring need. RayJ Dennis was a big miss in a lot of ways. Obviously, missing on the best true point guard in the transfer portal hurts. Additionally, Brad Underwood and his staff put a lot of their eggs in that basket. Eggs involving time and losing out on other prospects.

Despite the miss, Illinois Basketball made a quick move to add Jeremiah Williams. Williams decided to enter the transfer portal after sitting out this past year at Iowa State. The Chicago native was heavily linked to Illinois during the 2022 offseason, however the circumstances were much different this time around. Jeremiah Williams had been coming off two significant injuries and has not played a college basketball game since the 2021-22 season. There were certainly a lot of questions regarding whether he would even be available for Illinois.

Questions answered

Jeremiah Williams announced on social media that he will be reopening his recruitment. About a month after announcing his commitment to Illinois, the Chicago native will now look elsewhere as he continues his rehab. It is unclear whether he actually made it to campus, however there likely was some clarity to the situation. Whether Williams was denied a waiver to play this season after transferring a second time or the fact that he medically would not be ready for a while remains to be seen.

However, the fact that he is decommitting at this time gives away that one of those unfortunate scenarios played out. Illinois now has one open scholarship remaining. Though the pickings are slim, Illinois may go the international route or try to lure one of the remaining portal players to their roster.

What is out there?

Tre Mitchell recently entered the transfer portal. Antonio Reeves from Kentucky is a name that Illinois was rumored for, however he has not officially entered the transfer portal. Additionally, Illinois Basketball continues to wait for Justin Harmon to reach campus. Harmon is reportedly finishing up summer classes at Utah Valley, and his admission to Illinois remains to be seen.

Paul Mulcahy is still out there in the transfer portal. Additionally, Bob Huggins recently resigned from West Virginia. Could this mean that some players from that roster could be available? Regardless, Illinois will certainly be looking for fill their last scholarship. They will have to get creative to fill it, but there is still intrigue.

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.