Welcome to “Good Morning, Illini Nation,” your daily dose of college basketball news from Illini beat writer and AP Top 25 voter Scott Richey. He’ll offer up insights every morning on Brad Underwood’s team:
The commitment of four/five-star Class of 2022 guard put Illinois at 12 scholarship players for the 2022-23 season. That doesn’t include Jacob Grandison and Austin Hutcherson, who both could return for another season (or two for Hutcherson given his injury issues). Either returning for another season at Illinois, of course, has to be a mutual decision between player and program both have hit four seasons in five years.
So with one scholarship open for the 2022-23 season, Illinois continues to be in the transfer portal hunt. The Illini are looking for an experienced wing — either Texas Tech transfer Terrence Shannon Jr. or LSU transfer Brandon Murray — and a veteran point guard. The latter is seen as a desired need despite signing Jayden Epps and getting a commitment from Clark simply because neither has any college basketball experience.
Should Illinois take two from the portal, of course, one current player on scholarship would have to leave. That would have to be the players’ decision, of course, because scholarships are guaranteed for four years in the Big Ten.