Illinois basketball is in the middle of one of the craziest offseasons in program history.
It all started with some Illini players graduating or transferring from the team. These departures hurt at the time, but Brad Underwood moved quickly.
We got our point guard in Skyy Clark. He added to a great, potentially legendary, class of 2022. Underwood then landed Texas Tech transfer, Terrence Shannon Jr. He is a big-time shooting guard who could light up the scoreboard. And, this past Friday, Matthew Mayer was added to the roster. He has national title experience and the ability to stretch the floor.
But Illinois might not be done adding to the team this offseason. We still have two scholarships left to play with, and there are some big fish still in the transfer portal.
Here are the top three transfer portal options left for the Illinois basketball team.
1. Pete Nance
I think the biggest prize in the transfer portal right now is Pete Nance. I would argue this would be the biggest addition to the Illinois basketball team if it would come true.
Through four seasons with the Northwestern Wildcats, Nance has lived up to his recruiting billing. He came into the program as a four-star recruit who was ranked as the No. 88 player in the class of 2018. As soon as he hit the floor, Nance impressed with his abilities.
The progression with Nance was incredible. As a junior, he averaged 11.1 points, 6.8 rebounds, and 1.8 assists per game. Those are good numbers but were topped by a tremendous senior year that saw him average 14.6 points, 6.5 rebounds, 2.7 assists, and 1.1 blocks per contest.
Nance is now testing the NBA waters to see if he is good enough to make it in The Association. He has a couple of more days – June 1 – to withdraw his name from the NBA Draft pool and return to the college ranks. Nance did enter the transfer portal when he declared for the draft as well.
Illinois has a shot with Nance. There have been rumblings for a while that he could end up with the Orange and Blue, and I think those rumblings will really get loud if Nance withdraws from the NBA Draft in the coming days.
If Nance does pick Illinois, then I see the starting lineup looking something like; no. 1 Skyy Clark, No. 2 Terrence Shannon Jr., No. 3 Matthew Mayer, No. 4 Coleman Hawkins, and No. 5 Nancy. That’s a dangerous lineup.