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Illinois Basketball’s Offseason Wishlist



Feb 26, 2023; Columbus, Ohio, USA; Illinois Fighting Illini head coach Brad Underwood coaches during the second half against the Ohio State Buckeyes at Value City Arena. Mandatory Credit: Joseph Maiorana-USA TODAY Sports

Illinois Basketball’s Offseason is not here, however they closed their regular season campaign with a tough 71-76 loss at Mackey Arena against the Purdue Boilermakers. Illinois looked dead in the water to start, however overcame a 24 point deficit to tie the game in the final minutes of the game. Unfortunately, Illinois fell apart when offered the chance to build on the tie game. Illinois plays this week in the Big Ten Tournament and will likely have a spot in the Big dance as an 8-9 seed.

Unfortunately, the Offseason is looming. Unless Illinois can surprise us all, the end of this season is imminent. After today’s roller coaster ride, there are a few types of players Brad Underwood should have at the top of his Wishlist

A Veteran Ball-handler.

This has become so evident the past two weeks and particularly in the final minute and a half. Illinois obviously is missing their starting point guard, Jayden Epps. Epps is expected to play a major role next season as he has been mostly impressive this year. However, this season shows that you need veteran ball-handlers, or at least multiple ones. All of these games Illinois has been in has highlighted how vital a true point guard is.

Illinois was involved with Courtney Ramey this past offseason, however appeared to pump the brakes with the addition of Skyy Clark and Jayden Epps. It would behoove Illinois to go after a veteran point guard from the transfer portal or JUCO ranks. How great would an Andres Feliz be on this team?

Illinois has Dra Gibbs-Lawhorn coming in, however Illinois currently has scoring guards. They need a true, pass-first veteran. With Terrence Shannon, Matthew Mayer, and (llikely) Coleman Hawkins leaving this offseason, Illinois also has lots of shots and ball-handling duties to dish out.

A shooting wing.

Hell, Illinois could use one of these right now. Theoretically, a healthy Luke Goode is what this team really needs. However, Illinois will severely need consistent perimeter shooting on the wing next year. Again, with Shannon, Mayer and Hawkins out of the picture, Illinois needs stable firepower from the perimeter. For example, having what Jacob Grandison was last year would be a huge addition next year.

Illinois has looked at a few prep prospects that have been known for their shooting, however it looks as if Underwood will prioritize an older shooter on the wing in the transfer portal

Big man Depth.

This is more of a bonus than anything. If Coleman Hawkins leaves for the NBA, I do expect Amani Hansberry to fill in that role admirably. Hansberry is a tough, ready-to-go prospect, however losing Mayer opens the door for more depth.

Having Hawkins return would be ideal, however with the junior forward showing up in NBA Mock drafts, I expect the Sacramento native to forego his eligibility. Dain Dainja should also have a big jump to becoming a stable 25-30mpg performer, however after Dainja, the roster runs thin. Brandon Lieb will also be in his fourth year in Champaign (if he stays), however can you really expect the guy to play 15-20 minutes? This need is emphasized especially after Zacharie Perrin randomly left the team in January.

Again, Underwood will probably go to the transfer portal for some sort of rim protection depth. Honestly, Illinois needs all three if it is to compete in the Big Ten. They need solid additions to successfully replace the three best players on this year’s team.


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.