Welcome to “Good Morning, Illini Nation,” your daily dose of college basketball news from Illini beat writer and AP Top 25 voter Scott Richey. He’ll offer up insights every morning on Brad Underwood’s team:
House of 'Paign unveiling its first announcement last week with Malcolm Hill was a logical starting point. The No. 3 all-time scorer in Illinois basketball history gives the Illini alumni team in The Basketball Tournament a do-everything building block.
Monday's second announcement — with more to come on successive Mondays throughout the spring — helped shore up House of 'Paign on the defensive end. Former Illinois center Nnanna Egwu, the program's all-time leading blocked shots leader, will join Hill for the tournament in July.
“Some of the best years of my life were representing the orange and blue,” Egwu said. “I can’t wait to once again represent Illini nation.”
Roster Announcement #2️⃣The Man in the Middle. @IlliniMBB All-Time Leader in Blocks. Nnanna Egwu (@egwu_32) is ready to bring his relentless motor & work ethic to the 2020 TBT. @thetournament . pic.twitter.com/vefRdKaUmn— House of ‘Paign (@IlliniTBT) April 20, 2020
Egwu played at Illinois from 2011 to 2015 and averaged 5.5 points and 5.9 rebounds in his career. Most notably, of course, the 6-foot-11, 250-pound center blocked 201 shots in four seasons.
Egwu has blossomed into more of an all-around threat during his professional career the past five seasons. The Nigerian native and St. Ignatius and Illinois grad has played in the NBA G League, for two different teams in Australia's National Basketball League, in New Zealand's National Basketball League, in the ASEAN Basketball League while playing in Malaysia and most recently in Japan's B.League.
Egwu averaged 10.5 points and 9.8 rebounds and 1.9 blocks this season in Japan. He shot 58.4 percent on his two-point shots and 32.2 percent beyond the arc, making 56 of 174 three-pointers after attempting just 62 threes in four seasons at Illinois.