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Illinois Basketball has a Monster Future Frontcourt



Illinois Basketball has a Monster Future Frontcourt
Instagram: @igb.amani

Illinois Basketball has a Monster Future Frontcourt

Remember the John Groce era where Illinois struggled to land that marquee big man? Ever since Brad Underwood arrived, big man recruiting has excelled. Obviously, Kofi Cockburn held down the fort for 3 years. Cockburn is an all-time Illini great after literally changing the trajectory of the program. However, Coleman Hawkins has turned himself into an NBA prospect. Dain Dainja has had ten times the amount of success he had in his two years at Baylor while at Illinois. Amani Hansberry is the latest addition to that line.

Hansberry started his true freshman season last night in an exhibition game against Ottawa. Despite the lower competition, Hansberry showed why he was a such a big time recruiting win for Illinois basketball. The Baltimore native put up a double-double and portrayed the scrappiness that made him such a coveted recruit. Ironically, their prized recruit in the class of 2024 was sitting courtside. Morez Johnson Jr was on campus last night to support Illinois basketball and to show a potential future Illini that there is a monster frontcourt hoping to play with him.

Amani Hansberry and Morez Johnson Jr will be dominant on the glass.

Both Hansberry and Johnson have a knack for rebounding. Johnson was a dominant force on the EYBL circuit this summer and always seemed to be putting up a double-double. Amani seems to dominate the glass with his savviness and nose for the ball. Johnson, on the other hand, dominates the glass with his combination of length and athleticism. Though both are dominant paint forces, both have shown flashes of perimeter skills. That will probably be the most important factor for both of these big men to play together. In addition, Dain Dainja will (hopefully) be on this roster next year.

If Hansberry and Johnson want to play alongside the upperclassman, Dainja, then they will probably have to show that they can comfortably stretch the floor. Regardless, both players are going to be an absolute force on the rebounding front. Brad Underwood and his staff have done a great job recruiting talented big men to their front court. They deserve a lot of credit for keeping momentum going and adding a lot of high major talent to this program.

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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.