Eboigbodin: 'Best for me to transfer'

Eboigbodin: 'Best for me to transfer'

CHAMPAIGN — Greg Eboigbodin committed to Illinois on June 6, 2017. The 6-foot-9 forward was on campus by the end of that week, ready to start summer workouts with his new teammates.

Just 367 days later, Eboigbodin's Illini career is finished after one season. The Benin City, Nigeria, native (by way of Detroit) announced his intention to transfer Thursday afternoon on Twitter.

"After much consideration, I have decided it is best for me to transfer," Eboigbodin's Twitter note read. "There are many factors that led to this decision, so please respect it. Despite going our separate ways, this amazing university will always be a part of me and I'll forever cherish the time I spent here. Wishing the Illini basketball program nothing but the best in the future."

Eboigbodin played in 30 games, making two starts, as a true freshman during the 2017-18 season. He showed flashes of his potential — mostly in a five-game stretch in early January — but struggled to produce consistently while averaging 2.2 points and 2.4 rebounds per game as the Illini's first post player off the bench.

"We appreciate Greg's contribution during his time here and wish him the best moving forward," Illinois coach Brad Underwood said in a statement.

Eboigbodin is the fourth Illinois player to transfer this offseason and sixth total to leave the team. Mark Smith (Missouri), Michael Finke (Grand Canyon) and Te'Jon Lucas (Milwaukee) also transferred, while Leron Black opted to forgo his final season of eligibility to turn pro and Matic Vesel left the team to return to Slovenia.

In Eboigbodin, Smith and Vesel, Illinois has lost the three players Underwood signed in the Illini's 2017 class. Only John Groce recruits Trent Frazier and Da'Monte Williams remain.

Eboigbodin's transfer creates a third open scholarship for the 2018-19 season. Illinois has already pursued multiple 2018 forwards this spring but come up empty, as players like Bryce Golden (Butler), Maurice Calloo (Oklahoma State), Blake Hinson (Ole Miss) and Parker Braun (Missouri) have all chosen other opportunities.

The Illini have one open scholarship offer still out for the 2018 class to 6-10 forward Dima Zdor. The Ukrainian big man played his final season of high school basketball at St. James School in Hagerstown, Md. — teaming with Golden — and is reportedly considering the Illini in addition to Weber State, Siena, UMass, Austin Peay and Jacksonville State.

Depth in general is an issue for Illinois in the 2018-19 season with just 10 scholarship players now on the roster — four of which are returning players from last year's 14-18 team — but frontcourt depth is where the Illini are hurting the most. Illinois has just two players taller than 6-7, both of whom are incoming freshmen — 6-9 forward Giorgi Bezhanishvili and 7-foot center Samba Kane.