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What if Luke Goode Returns?



Who is the X-factor for Illinois Basketball?
Luke Goode takes a shot in a practice before the NCAA tournament

If Luke Goode Returns?

Sophomore guard, Luke Goode has sat out this season due a foot injury sustained in the “secret” scrimmage against Kansas. Goode was projected to be the top shooter on this current roster and was even considered a starter. He shot roughly 37 percent in limited action as a freshman, but showed tremendous promise in his feel for the game and effortless shooting stroke. There was rumor that Goode should be expected to return around the end of January. The big question I rise is, should he?

Let’s say yes

This Illinois team has picked up the level of play of late, however they’re are no doubt a subpar perimeter shooting team. Terrence Shannon made 8 threes against UCLA, however since that he’s been way off from 3. Shannon is more suited to come downhill towards the rim. Coleman Hawkins either makes 5 threes or goes 2 for 6 it seems. Additionally, Matt Mayer is extremely streaky in general. Jayden Epps is currently the team’s best shooter. That’s one lonely true freshman. Illinois shot 33 percent from 3 against MSU and 27.6 percent against Nebraska. They no doubt need shooting help.

Goode also somewhat mimics Jacob Grandison to an extent. He plays hard, and despite limited athleticism, just seems to be in the right place. He injected some major life in the game against Houston just by knocking down a few shots. This team could really use a knock-down shooter like Goode.


Let’s say No.

This team is clicking. With Skyy Clark leaving the program, the Illini have seemed to settle in. Guys know their role and seem to have more confidence with a less congested backcourt. They finally seem to be settling into an offensive rhythm after a streak of extremely poor offensive performances. Would re-introducing Goode to this rotation throw that off? Goode would likely have to replace RJ Melendez and Ty Rodgers in the rotation. Though that may seem enticing given Melendez’s rather disappointing sophomore campaign, would taking away from these two guys be worth it?

Additionally, bringing a Sophomore back in the latter half of the season after not playing or even running for 3 months be worth it? Is Goode in game shape? If Goode is not able to acclimate by February, is having him play a month and a half more important than redshirting him and having him an extra year a few years down the line.

To be honest, it’s a very tough call. Goode can certainly help this team, but you have to acknowledge some realism in this case. I think if he is not game ready, then why waste a season playing 5-10 minutes a game. Redshirt the guy and let this team continue to cook. That’s my take though, feel free to share yours below!


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.