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Illinois Basketball Gives Clarity on Two Players Sitting Out

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Illinois Basketball Guard to Return from Injury
Nov 19, 2023; Champaign, Illinois, USA; Illinois Fighting Illini guard Niccolo Moretti (11) looks to pass the ball as Southern Jaguars guard Jordan Johnson (11) defends during the first half at State Farm Center. Mandatory Credit: Ron Johnson-USA TODAY Sports

Illinois Basketball Gives Clarity on Two Players Sitting Out

Brad Underwood met with media on New Year’s Eve to discuss the next Illinois Basketball game vs Northwestern. Illinois Basketball will have a big-time test on Tuesday night at home vs their in-state rival. The Wildcats are a streaky squad with an impressive win at home vs the top team in the country and with a putrid loss to Chicago State afterward. Boo Buie is one of the best combo guards in America and Chris Collins owns a very experienced and rugged squad. Illinois Basketball faces its first real test since losing their All-American, Terrence Shannon Jr. Despite the continued uncertainty about their star player, Brad Underwood did delve into some small updates surrounding two players who are currently sitting out.

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Nico Moretti

Niccolo Moretti was starting to come into his own. Though it was against lower competition, Moretti was starting to look pretty comfortable on the floor. He was starting to project as an interesting piece. He is probably the most true ball-handler on this team and looked far more comfortable running the fast break than anyone else not named Terrence Shannon Jr. Unfortunately, Moretti injured his foot on November 19th vs Southern and was seen in a walking-boot for the rest of the month. During Underwood’s media availability, Moretti was seen practicing his shot without a walking boot. Underwood said that there is no timeline for return and the team will know more after another set of imaging on Nico’s foot. 

Sencire Harris

With the loss of Terrence Shannon Jr and Nico’s injury, Illinois basketball becomes rather thin on the perimeter. The question on everyone’s mind is whether Illinois would consider removing the redshirt on Sencire Harris. Harris is understandably taking a redshirt year to work on his game and his strength. Prior to the season with a full roster, Harris is projected to be the odd man out despite showing that he can contribute in spot minutes. Despite the recent changes to the roster, Brad Underwood emphasized that Sencire Harris will continue with his redshirt year. 

Harris has a lot to work on this year both on and off the court. He needs to get stronger and also work on a consistent offensive game. He does a lot of what Ty Rodgers currently does without the physicality and general vertical explosion. If he can find a way to develop his game, Harris could be a huge piece on the 2024-2025 squad.



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