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:
Adam Miller entering the transfer portal and Ayo Dosunmu declaring for the 2021 NBA Draft in the last week-plus — particularly the latter — only reaffirmed what was assumed all along. Illinois would have to recharge its backcourt for the 2021-22 season.
Whether its through high school recruiting (think TyTy Washington and Brandin Podziemski) or through the portal (plenty of options there), Brad Underwood and Co. will now likely add a pair of guards this offseason. If it's the portal option, Armaan Franklin has already confirmed an Indiana-to-Virginia transfer, so he's out.
In could be UNLV transfer Bryce Hamilton. The 6-foot-4, 205-pound guard entered the portal Thursday night. By Friday, he already had a long list of suitors, Illinois included.
Kansas, USC, Oregon, Texas, New Mexico, UConn, Illinois, Texas Tech and Florida State reached out about UNLV transfer Bryce Hamilton last night, source told ESPN. Second-team All-Mountain West, averaged 17.9 PPG, 6.0 RPG and 3.0 APG.— Jeff Borzello (@jeffborzello) April 9, 2021
Hamilton just wrapped up his third season with the Runnin' Rebels, although he'll transfer with two years of eligibility remaining since the 2020-21 season was a freebie for everybody. He started all 24 games he played as a junior — missing three in the middle of the season — and averaged 17.9 points, six rebounds and six assists (all career highs) despite not being a terrific shooter (43/31/66).
Hamilton was a four-star recruit out of high school, ranking No. 105 nationally by 247Sports in the Class of 2018. The Pasadena, Calif., native had other offers from Arizona State, Ohio State, Boise State, Buffalo, Colorado, Hawaii, Nevada, Portland, Santa Clara, UC Santa Barbara, Utah and Washington State.