The Illinois Fighting Illini lost a key guard when sophomore Andre Curbelo announced on Twitter earlier today that he will not be returning to Champaign next season. The sophomore guard from Vega Baja, Puerto Rico will be entering the transfer portal.
Curbelo had a big freshman season at Illinois during the 2020-2021 season, averaging 9.1 points and 4.2 assists. He finished his freshman year earning All-Big Ten Freshman Team and Sixth Man of the Year honors while posting double digit scoring in 11 games and falling just shy of a triple-double against Nebraska in the final regular season home game of the year.
As a sophomore, Curbelo entered the season with preseason first-team All-Big Ten honors but suffered a concussion in an exhibition game and missed 14 of the first 18 games of the regular season as a result. Curbelo eventually was able to overcome concussion-related issues and return to the court, but found his time and production frustratingly limited compared to his freshman season. He averaged just 6.2 points, 2.6 assists, and 2.6 turnovers in the final 13 games of the season. Against Houston in the Round of 32 matchup, Curbelo played just 10 minutes in the loss.
Curbelo finished his sophomore campaign averaging 7.5 points per game and 3.2 assists and did not earn any end of season Big Ten honors.
In his announcement on Twitter, Curbelo posted the following comment:
Illini Nation ... where do I begin? These past two years have been insane. So many amazing moments and some hard times that we had to battle through. I am so thankful I could be a part of this program. Without my teammates and staff, I wouldn’t have been able to accomplish all of [the] things that I did personally & that WE did collectively. I’m thankful that I was a part of two amazing teams here at the University of Illinois & for the relationships I have made. I’m thankful for all of the support from The Orange Krush, you all were my energy and the reason I never stopped pushing. Unfortunately, my time here at the UIUC has come to an end & I have decided to enter the transfer portal.