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Illinois Fighting Illini: Current Scholarship Status

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With 11 scholarships filled, the Illini have room to bring in a couple of graduate transfers this summer.

Mike Granse-USA TODAY Sports

Scholarship Number

Player

Years of Eligibility

1

Jaylon Tate

1

2

Kendrick Nunn

1

3

Malcolm Hill

1

4

Maverick Morgan

1

5

Leron Black

2

6

Jalen Coleman-Lands

3

7

Aaron Jordan

3

8

D.J. Williams

3

9

Kipper Nichols

4

10

Michael Finke

4

11

Te'Jon Lucas

4

12

Open

13

Open

The Illinois Fighting Illini men's basketball team is coming off its worst season since the 1998-99 campaign. John Groce's squad did not qualify for the NCAA Tournament for a third consecutive season, a drought not experienced in Champaign in 36 years.

The Illinois athletic department has been in a state of chaos for some time, but new athletic director Josh Whitman hopes to right the ship and in doing so appears to be giving Groce at least one more season to get the program going in the right direction. At the moment, Illinois' current basketball roster resembles the current state of the department. The reality is with just two open scholarships and one incoming freshman, there is a lot of rebuilding to do.

Of the 11 scholarship players on the roster entering next season, two are currently sitting on indefinite suspensions. Seniors Kendrick Nunn and Jaylon Tate were both suspended for separate domestic violence issues following the team's early exit from the Big Ten Tournament. Nunn was the second leading scorer this past season with 15.5 points and 5 rebounds per game and will be desperately needed next season if the Illini stand any chance at making the postseason. Tate is one of two pure point guards on the roster and averaged just under 2 points and 2.6 assists this season.

The other two scholarship seniors on the team include Malcolm Hill, the team's leading scorer after averaging over 18 points and 6.6 boards per game. The other scholarship senior is Maverick Morgan, the team's lone center. Morgan averaged 8.3 points and 3.5  rebounds playing in over 21 minutes per game.

Leron Black is the lone junior outside of walk-on Cameron Liss. Unfortunately for Groce, Illinois will be without Black for the first six games (includes two exhibition games) of the season due to a suspension following an arrest after an incident involving a knife and a nightclub bouncer. Black averaged just under 4 points and rebounds per game inhis eight games played this past season.

The sophomore class is where John Groce will need to a find a good bulk of production next season. Jalen Coleman-Lands has the potential to become a household name in Big Ten country if he can improve on the double-digit scoring he provided last season and continue to shoot over 40-percent from both the floor and beyond the arc. Michael Finke is a much needed asset down low with his 6-foot-10-inch size, especially considering the lack of depth in the frontcourt recently. Aaron Jordan and D.J. Williams will both need to continue to develop and increase their role playing positions as well.

Rounding out the sophomore class is Kipper Nichols, one of two current newcomers set for next season. Nichols was initially committed to Tulane last year, but never enrolled for classes last fall. Nichols, however,  did receive financial aid and was forced to honor the one-year transfer rule, so he won't be eligible to take the floor until after the fall semester.

The lone committed freshman is Te'Jon Lucas. Lucas is a 6'0" point guard that was ranked as a three-star prospect and was a notable pickup as Groce had repeatedly struck out on his search for a point guard for 2016.

Illinois has been actively pursuing graduate transfers to try and fill some roster holes and give the team a shot at saving John Groce's job. Groce and staff have six scholarships to work with over the next year and already have two verbal commits for the class of 2017.

If Illinois adds anyone during the summer months we will be sure to update.