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Illinois Basketball’s Ty Rodgers Will Breakout as a Sophomore



Illinois Basketball's Ty Rodgers Sophomore Breakout
Feb 26, 2023; Columbus, Ohio, USA; Illinois Fighting Illini forward Ty Rodgers (20) looks to score as Ohio State Buckeyes forward Justice Sueing (14) defends during the first half at Value City Arena. Mandatory Credit: Joseph Maiorana-USA TODAY Sports

Illinois Basketball’s Ty Rodgers Will Breakout as a Sophomore.

In the age of the transfer portal, student athletes now find themselves having to announce their intent to return on social media. So far, Illinois has lost quite a few members of their team. Jayden Epps, RJ Melendez and Brandon Lieb are all scholarship players who have found new homes. Additionally, Coleman Hawkins and Terrence Shannon Jr are both going through the NBA draft process.

However, Ty Rodgers was one of the few players on this team to announce his return. Though Illinois has made moves in the transfer portal that may hint at a tougher road to the floor for Rodgers, I fully expect the sophomore to have a great season.

The Process.

Ty Rodgers just seems to understand the process of development. He notably struggled to find the floor as a true freshman and often looked out of place at the beginning of the season. His lack of a perimeter shot limited the 6 foot 6 top 50 prospect, and he had to adjust to the strength and quickness of college athletes. However, Rodgers was notably patient and honest with the media throughout the season.

Rodgers had a tremendous end to the season. Though he continued to struggle with shooting the ball and with free throws, Rodgers found a way to translate his motor to the floor. Through the last 18 games, Rodgers averaged around 5 rebounds per game. He also showed his ability to defend and even handle the ball.

What must improve.

Ty Rodgers obviously needs work on his jump-shot. However, I think more specifically, he needs to work on free throws. Rodgers shot a horrid 38.7 percent from the line. With his ability to offensive rebound and ability to get to the cup, he has to make teams pay at a respectable rate. As a guard/wing, Rodgers needs to at least double his free throw percentage. With players like Quincy Guerrier, Marcus Domask and Justin Harmon joining the fold, Rodgers has to do this if he wants to even smell the floor next year.

Outside of that, finding a way to catch and shoot at a respectable rate would also be ideal. Think of how much Da’Monte Williams’ value skyrocketed after he proved he can knock down an open-three. Rodgers brings a lot of what Williams does, however without some sort of reliable point production, none of it will be noticed.

Rodgers has the work ethic and camp around him that will allow for his development. However, going from a freshman to a Sophomore, improving free throws would be the absolute top of my list for him. He already has the built in basketball-iq and skills to play at the Big Ten. As I have said before, think of Michigan State’s Aaron Henry as the template for Rodgers.

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.