Now that the Tourney dust has settled, word started pouring on via Twitter, that some guys might be moving on. Of course those sources can’t always be trusted, but there is now a press release on FightingIllini.com announcing that three members of this year’s team will be transferring elsewhere.
Sophomores Mike Shaw, Ibby Djimde and redshirt freshman Devin Langford have all informed the University of Illinois that they will be transferring after the Spring semester. If none of these names are familiar to you, then you’ll understand why these guys are transferring. Of the three, Shaw probably had the most minutes this year, but none of them really made a huge impact. At the beginning of the season John Groce wanted the team to be 10 guys deep, but that never really happened.
I do wonder how those discussions go down, and how much of the decision belongs to the player, and how much is a result of finding out from the staff that their minutes probably won’t be increasing very much next season.
Two starters are graduating (D.J. Richardson, Brandon Paul) as well as a trusty sixth man/sometime starter (Tyler Griffey), so it may seem shocking to hear that three more will be leaving, but we have a four talented freshman coming in. Also, redshirt Rayvonte Rice will be joining the team after sitting out for a year and should be able to jump right in.
Now Groce has a bunch of scholarships to play with, and I’m guessing he’ll pick up another 5th year senior ala Sam McLaurin, and perhaps a juco transfer here and there. I’m not (overly) concerned with what will happen, but I do worry about the team chemistry and dynamics next year. The 2013-2014 Illini are going to look very different, but I don’t know if that’s a bad thing.
I have faith that Groce can bring the new guys together and make everything work. And, we’ll still have Joseph Bertrand, Tracy Abrams and Nnanna Egwu as anchors. The only other guy that may be thinking about transferring is Myke Henry, but he has seen enough playing time that he might not be considering leaving (please don’t go!). If he continues to get better, Henry could get a job in the starting lineup.
“Mike, Ibby and Devin are outstanding young men who have always represented the University of Illinois in a first-class manner,” said Groce. “We will help them in any we can during this process to find the best fit, so that they are able to achieve their goals on the basketball court and in the classroom.”
Best of luck to Shaw, Djimde and Langford!!