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Illinois Lands Graduate Transfer Mark Alstork

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What does Mark Alstork’s commitment mean for the Fighting Illini?

NCAA Basketball: Wright State at Penn State Matthew O'Haren-USA TODAY Sports

The sweepstakes for former Wright State guard Mark Alstork came to a conclusion Wednesday, as the Illinois Fighting Illini emerged victorious. The program beat out LSU, Pitt, and South Carolina for the graduate transfer’s services.

Possessing immediate eligibility for the 2017-18 season, Alstork’s impact will be felt right from the jump. With a depleted roster, the commitment couldn’t have come sooner for coach Brad Underwood and Co.

“I’m ecstatic,” Alstork said. “I”m coming, and I’m going to do whatever it takes. Each and every year, I’ve continued to improve and become a better overall person and player. That’s only going to continue to get better. I thought Illinois was the best overall good situation for me.”

Though he’s primarily known as a scorer, Alstork impacts the game in a variety of ways on the court. He is an excellent rebounder, and frequently looks to get others involved as well. Last season the guard averaged 19 points, 4.7 rebounds, and 3.5 assists in 32 games, eclipsing the 1000 point mark. The performance garnered Alstork First Team All-Horizon League honors.

Alstork already knows the transfer process all too well. He started his career at Ball State, finishing the year with modest totals on a 5 win Cardinal team. His freshman season saw averages of 5.6 points, 3.1 rebounds, and 1.5 assists in 22.6 minutes a game.

Alstork elected to transfer, finding greener pastures and a more freely flowing offense. The Dayton, OH native returned home to play for the Wright State Raiders, and after sitting out a year, took the Horizon league by storm. Alstork averaged double figure scoring in each of his seasons, and led the Raiders to consecutive 20 win seasons.

This offseason, Alstork joined the throngs of players testing the NBA waters without an agent. He ultimately elected to play one more year in the college ranks. Make no mistake though; his goal is to make it to the Association. Before he chose to forego the draft, Alstork spoke on his goals:

“I’m really taking it as I’m going to the NBA draft and NBA team workouts and potentially get signed or get drafted that’s what I’m going to do,” Alstork told the Detroit Free Press in April.

Alstork’s decision adds to the roller coaster drama that has been the Illinois offseason. Following the departure of former head coach John Groce, four-star center Jeremiah Tilmon and three-star guard Javon Pickett de-committed.

Underwood arrived in Champaign with far more questions than answers. Now, with the commitment of Mark Smith, retention of Trent Frazier and DaMonte Williams, and addition of Alstork, the program seems to have weathered the storm and found some footing.

Alstork should slide right in the starting backcourt alongside Smith, creating an explosive and dynamic combo. Both guards are listed at 6-foot-5 and both have the ability to facilitate as well as score at all three levels.

While the Fighting Illini likely won’t compete for a Big Ten title this season, they will certainly be a tough out for any opponent they come across. And with so much youth, the future looks bright. Mark Alstork is the perfect player to bridge the gap.