May 22 Illinois basketball chat

May 22 Illinois basketball chat

Wednesday, May 22, 2019 - 12:30pm

The end of May is always a bit of a quiet time for Illinois basketball, with the players home for a well deserved break ahead of their return in early June for the start of summer workouts. Whether any new faces will join the Illini next month is the question. Counting Bernard Kouma's yet signed for scholarship, Illinois has three available heading into the 2019-20 season. Who fills those roster spots? Could they be rolled over? Which is better? Beat writer Scott Richey can answer those questions and any others you might have about Illini hoops in his weekly chat set for 12:30 p.m. Wednesday.

Scott Richey wrote on May 22, 2019 at 12:05 pm
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Good afternoon everyone and welcome back to another chat. It's a moderately "slow" time for Illinois basketball at the moment with the players not due back on campus until next month. Recruiting, of course, never really stops, and there is that whole still need to fill out the 2019-20 roster thing. The latter has been a slow process.

Anyway, just a few questions waiting for me, but I'll keep the chat open for an hour or so in case we have some latecomers (hint, hint). 

illininutt wrote on May 22, 2019 at 12:05 pm

Does Illinois have ANY more names to be looking at for recruits or transfers for 2019?Even without anybody added I think we are a "Big Dance" team next year!  Finally got us a BANGER and tons of talent to go along with him!  When "Sumba Kinda Good" is your 3rd BIG off the bench we will not be out rebounded!  4-5-6 good shooters....maybe our best team in a decade!?

Scott Richey wrote on May 22, 2019 at 12:05 pm
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While things might seem bleak given TJ Holyfield (Texas Tech) and Tomas Woldetensae (Virgina) among others not choosing Illinois, there are a couple more names to consider. One is Addison Patterson. The 6-foot-6, four-star wing is currently in the 2020 class, but he's considering reclassifying to 2019. It's a decision he said he'll make in July. Illinois (along with Oregon and USC) is recruiting him the hardest.

George Mason grad transfer Jaire Grayer, a 6-5 guard, is another. Stadium's Jeff Goodman reported that Grayer is interested in Arkansas, Buffalo, Hawaii, Illinois, TCU, Tulane and Virginia Tech. He's visited Arkansas, but the Razorbacks already got Iowa grad transfer Isaiah Moss at the same spot (not that that's stopped Eric Musselman before).

On paper, even with just 10 scholarship players signed, Illinois does have one of its more talented rosters in some time. What that group of players — most of which just went 12-21 — can do on the court remains to be seen.

RdballMike wrote on May 22, 2019 at 12:05 pm

Odds we land grad transfer & which one

Scott Richey wrote on May 22, 2019 at 12:05 pm
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I'm not really sure how to put odds on something like that. Given the fact Illinois has three open scholarships (counting Bernard Kouma's still officially unclaimed one) and could stand to add depth in a couple areas, the Illini coaches are certainly looking for a grad transfer. I'll go the route my former colleague Marcus Jackson presented and say it's 50-50 ... either they get one or they don't.

Having missed on TJ Holyfield and several others where there was at least some reported interest, I'd lean closer to "don't" at this point. Then again, Illinois got grad transfer center Adonis De La Rosa last July, so anything can happen.

One name to watch, as I mentioned in my first response in today's chat, is George Mason's Jaire Grayer. The 6-foot-5, 200-pound guard out of Flint, Mich., missed most of last season with a foot injury (opening the door to be a grad transfer). He will need to receive a medical hardship waiver to play in 2019-20, but that should just be pro forma given he appeared in only seven games in 2018-19. Grayer averaged 11 points and 5.3 rebounds and shot 35 percent from three-point range for his career at George Mason. His dad, Jeff, was a first round draft pick in 1988 out of Iowa State, played on the 1988 Olympic team and spent nine seasons in the NBA.

Khan al-Sanderz wrote on May 22, 2019 at 12:05 pm

I realize there are some restrictions about coaches having official practices but are there NCAA rules regarding the current team getting nutrition and weight training advice/training/coaching?



Scott Richey wrote on May 22, 2019 at 1:05 pm
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There really aren't that many restrictions these days particularly after a change in the offseason workout rules last year. Once the players return to campus early next month, they can spend four hours per week with the coaching staff receiving on-court instructions and four hours per week in the weight room with Adam Fletcher during the offseason. In terms of nutrition, Kaela Covard started at Illinois last May and is the team sports dietitian for men's basketball (along with women's basketball, soccer, softball, wrestling and women's golf).

MIKE FOSTER wrote on May 22, 2019 at 1:05 pm

What a shockwave the Belien move was. How do you see this affecting the Conference next year? Do you think this helps Illinois?

Any word on Kouma signing any kind of paperwork?

What's the likelihood of us losing Ayo, Feliz AND Frazier after next season?

Scott Richey wrote on May 22, 2019 at 1:05 pm
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Tough to gauge the impact of Michigan losing John Beilein not knowing who the next coach will be. If it's Juwan Howard (offered the job, no deal yet), I'm not sure that changes things a lot for 2019-20. He'll inherit some solid veterans like Zavier Simpson, Jon Teske and Isaiah Livers along with a bunch of sophomores that didn't play all that much last year but came in pretty well regarded. 

Memphis isn't a terrible comp. Penny Hardaway inherited a 21-win team (Tubby Smith wasn't fired for losing too much), and the Tigers went 22-14 last season and made the NIT. If Michigan under Howard (potentially) is able to do what Hardaway has done on the recruiting trail (Memphis has the No. 1 2019 class) then the Big Ten should be scared.

But Beilein was probably the best Xs and Os coach in the Big Ten. His departure helps every other team at least a little, Illinois included. The fact the Illini hardly ever won against Beilein might change, too.

Bernard Kouma is still expected to sign his grant-in-aid scholarship paperwork.

Illinois will 100 percent lose Andres Feliz after the 2019-20 season since he'll have exhausted his eligibility. I'd put losing Ayo Dosunmu at 99 percent given he is projected right now as high as the lottery for the 2020 draft. But Trent Frazier? Unless he has a super breakout monster junior season I would expect him to return for his senior year.

Scott Richey wrote on May 22, 2019 at 2:05 pm
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That's it for this week's chat. Thanks to everybody that submitted a question. Feel free to do so again next when the chat returns — same time, same place.

Until then enjoy the week (and hopefully consistently nice weather like we got today)!