2022 Record: 20-13 (11-9)
Head Coach: Brad Underwood (Career Record 223-106) (Illinois Record 114-79)
PG: Terrence Shannon Jr (17.2 Pts, 4.6 Reb, 2.8 Ast)
SG: Ty Rodgers (3.3 Pts, 4.0 Reb, 1.0 Ast)
SF: Marcus Domask (Southern Illinois 16.7 Pts, 5.8 Reb, 3.8 Ast)
PF: Quincy Guerrier (Oregon 9.0 Pts, 4.6 Reb, 1.0 Ast)
C: Coleman Hawkins (9.9 Pts, 6.3 Reb, 3.0 Ast)
6: C Dain Dainja (9.5 Pts, 5.5 Reb, 0.5 Ast)
7: SG Justin Harmon (Utah Valley 13.9 Pts, 3.8 Reb, 2.9 Ast)
8: SG Sencire Harris (3.7 Pts, 2.1 Reb, 0.9 Ast)
9: PG Dra Gibbs-Lawhorn
10: SG Luke Goode (4.0 Pts, 1.6 Reb, 0.4 Ast)
11: PF Amani Hansberry
12: PG Niccolo Moretti
Illinois returns starters Terrence Shannon and Coleman Hawkins from last seasons team. Shannon really had a breakout year with the Illini after transferring from Texas Tech last season. Shannon has great size at the PG position and excels on the defensive side of the ball as well. He brings experience to this Illinois team as a 5th year returning senior. Coleman Hawkins is on track to have his best season yet in his Illinois career. He took way more threes this past season than he has before. He could use some improvement in that category to get over the 30% mark, but he’s proven he can make them from 3. Also returning to the Illini and expected to make a big jump this upcoming season is guard Ty Rodgers. As a freshman he shot over 50% from the floor making an appearance in 33 games. He could also play some possessions at the PG position this season.
Additional returners for Illinois this upcoming season include Luke Goode and Sencire Harris. Goode has battled some injuries during the course of his career and played sparingly in his first 2 seasons with the program. He can be relied on to make some shots off the bench. He could have an elevated role this season for the sole reason of Illinois needed a shooting spark at times. Sencire Harris contributed some solid minutes as a freshman last season. He’s due for an increased role as well. Harris averaged 4PPG on 43% shooting overall and 32% from beyond the arc. Dain Dainja returns as an anchor in the middle for the Illini. He is very efficient around the rim as he shot 63% this past season. He’s also a staple on the defensive side of the ball as his nickname the “Dainja Zone” insinuates.
Illinois took to the portal where they were able to reel in 5th year senior transfers Quincy Guerrier from Oregon and Marcus Domask from Southern Illinois. Guerrier is a very athletic forward from Canada who has been on some pro radars dating back to his Syracuse days. Guerrier can score from all three levels and is also a vital piece on the defensive side of the ball. He’ll fit right into his role with the Illini and should have a very successful season. Marcus Domask is going to provide an offensive spark for Illinois. They were searching for scoring at times last season with an offense that ranked #68 overall in Kenpom. The addition of Domask will help fill that void. He’s been a high volume scorer in a very good mid major league, the MVC. Domask in his 4 year Saluki career has averaged 15PPG, 5RPG, 3APG. Utah Valley transfer guard Justin Harmon will also be a valuable piece off the bench and will also get his fair share of minutes. He’s been part of a winning culture during his Utah Valley career and is another player that can score on all three levels.
Brad Underwood and staff also added 3 freshman in the class of 2023 to the team this offseason. PG Dra Gibbs-Lawhorn is ranked as the #143 player in the country. He was once a Top 25 player when the first round of 2023 ranking came out a few years ago. He’s still a player that should get some run at the PG position and could add some value to the team as a freshman. PF Amani Hansberry out of Maryland is ranked as the #61 player in the class. He should see some solid minutes this season as well. PG Niccolo Moretti from Italy joined the team last January and redshirted during the second semester.
Illinois did lose a couple starters from last seasons team, but the talent they brought back combined with the portal additions they made should lead them to have a better team this season. Illinois was 7th in the Big 10 last season ultimately making the NCAA Tournament as a 9 seed. This year, they project more in the 3rd-4th range in the Big 10. They should easily return to the big dance this season and expect anything from a 4 to 7 seed.