Illinois was a confusing team last year. They were ranked at some point in January and somehow they failed to make the tournament. A defensive team that laid bricks, they could not score consistently enough to be any good. Towards the end of the season Illinois held a couple of really good teams, including Michigan State, to under fifty points. Illinois was a hard to project for this year as they do not lose a whole lot but they do not bring any thing special in either. They lose Jon Ekey and Joseph Bertrand to graduation. This means losing:
This really is not that bad as they return 3 starters and the rest of their bench players. Here is their projected rosters:
# Name HT WT YR POS
24 Rayvonte Rice 6-4 235 RS. SR SF
A bulldog of a player, had some trouble with his shot last year. Undersized for the three but makes up for it with his weight. The starting Small Forward, averaged 15.9 points per game.
32 Nnanna Egwu 6-11 250 SR. C
A very tall man with a very smalll rebounding rate. Uses his jump shot WAY to much. Scored 6.9 points per game last year. The starting Center, could make a huge jump this year.
13 Tracy Abrams 6-2 190 SR. PG
The starting Point Guard, averaged 11 points per game and 3 assists per game last year.
11 Aaron Cosby 6-3 195 SR. SG
The third guy off the bench, played at Seton Hall and had to sit out a year.
3 Ahmad Starks 5-9 170 RS. SR PG
A transfer from Oregon State, will get this year after sitting out last year. Back-up point guard. Probably good for 10 minutes a game.
35 Darius Paul 6-8 220 JR. PF
A good stretch four, a transfer from Western Michigan. Many of you will recognize him as Brandon Paul's brother. The back-up Power Forward.
10 Mike LaTulip 6-1 170 JR. PG
A walk-on that may get minutes in the beginning of the season. The 3rd string Shooting Guard.
31 Austin Colbert 6-9 210 SO. PF
The 3rd Power Forward, could player Center as well. More of a traditional Power Forward.
25 Kendrick Nunn 6-3 180 SO. SG
The starting Shooting Guard, started to really blossom at the end of last year. May be Dakich's new favorite player.
22 Maverick Morgan 6-10 250 SO. C
The back-up Center, will get about 10 minutes a game this year.
21 Malcolm Hill 6-6 210 SO. PF
A smaller type of Power Forward, may get passed up by a freshman later on in the season.
1 Jaylon Tate 6-3 160 SO. PG
The starting Point Guard, will not get many minutes.
Leron Black 6-7 215 FR. SF
A four star that will back up Rice, could start eventually.
Michael Finke 6-9 200 FR. PF
Once he adds weight he could be pretty good. A three star. With all the transfers they have that will be able to play right now, Finke may redshirt.
Projected Starting Lineup
Point Guard: Tracy Abrams
Shooting guard: Kendrick Nunn
Small Forward: Rayvonte RIce
Power Forward: Malcolm Hill
Center: Nnanna Egwu
Michigan plays them at home and away next year.
This Illini team will be very experienced and tough to beat anywhere. If they are shooting well, they will be very tought to beat. I project them to finish 8th in the conference with a record of 9-9 in the conference. The fact that this team will finish like this shows the depth of the B1G next year.
Next up... Maryland