End of season update on the Illini diaspora
Jacob Grandison - Duke (6th year) appeared in all 34 games, starting 0 and averaging 16.0 minutes per game (8th most), averaged 4.4 points on .537 TS%, 2.1 rebounds and 1.4 assists, along with 0.4 steals and 0.1 blocks. solid 4.3 Box Plus Minus. Duke finishes 26-8 (14-6) and then won the ACC Tournament. They will be a 5 seed in the NCAA Tournament, making Grandison the only former Illini that will appear in the Big Dance and he will look to close out his college career on a high note.
Tevian Jones - Southern Utah (5th year) appeared and started in 33 games (with 1 game missed) and averaged a team high 33.5 minutes per game. He was his team's leading scorer at 17.6 PPG on .558 TS% (overall career is a .541 TS%), along with 4.4 rebounds, 1.3 assists, 1.2 steals and 0.1 blocks against 2.2 turnovers. Southern Utah finishes 22-12 (12-6) and fell short in the WAC Conference Tournament Championship Game to end their chances of a bid (after his heroic 4-point play sent them to the championship game). Jones finished 1st team All-WAC in what was a very strong last season for the former Illini, who made the most of his COVID eligible year.
Omar Payne - Jacksonville (Sr.) appeared in 25 games and started 9 (with 4 games missed) and averaged 17.0 minutes per game. He averaged 4.8 points per game on a team best .604 TS%, 3.2 rebounds, 0.5 assists, 0.3 steals and 1.0 blocks per game. Jacksonville finishes 13-16 (6-12) and failed to qualify for the Atlantic Sun Conference Tournament. He should have one more year of eligibility due to COVID.
Jermaine Hamlin - Eastern Illinois (Sr.) appeared in 27 games and started 2 (with 4 games missed) and only averaged 9.3 minutes per game. He averaged 3.1 points per game on .518 TS%, 2.0 rebounds, 0.0 assists (recorded 1 all season), 0.1 steals and 0.7 blocks. Eastern Illinois finishes a lowly 9-22 (5-13) to come in last place and failing to qualify for the Ohio Valley Conference Tournament. Hamlin should have one more year of eligibility due to COVID.
Benjamin Bosmans-Verdonck - South Carolina (r-Jr.) appeared in 31 games and started 14 (with 1 game missed) and averaged 14.9 minutes per game. He only averaged 1.9 points per game on a very poor .436 TS%, 3.1 rebounds, 1.1 assists, 0.4 steals and 0.2 blocks. South Carolina finishes a lowly 11-21 (4-14) and were eliminated in the first round of the SEC Tournament. Based on both a Redshirt year and the COVID year, he should have two more years of eligibility.
Andre Curbelo - St. John's (Jr.) appeared in 26 games and started 16 (with 7 games missed due to a combo of injury, suspension and coach's decision) and averaged 27.3 minutes per game. He averaged 9.6 points per game on a poor .468 TS%, a team leading 4.3 assists against 2.7 turnovers, 2.8 rebounds, 2.0 steals and 0.2 blocks. St. John's finishes 18-15 (7-13) and was eliminated in the Quarterfinals of the Big East Tournament. Curbelo will have two more years of eligibility due to COVID. Most concerning is that he's now had issues with two separate coaching staffs, and has already used his "free transfer" last season. St. John's fired coach Mike Anderson, so he will likely have to make nice with whomever they bring in.
Adam Miller - LSU (r-So.) appeared and started in all 33 games and averaged a team high 33.0 minutes per game. He averaged 11.5 points per game on a poor .486 TS%, 1.7 assists against 2.1 turnovers, 2.3 rebounds, 0.8 steals and 0.2 blocks. Very tough season for LSU in the wake of Will Wade's dismissal and mass exodus of players last season as they finish 14-19 (2-16) to come in last place in the SEC and were eliminated in the second round of the SEC Tournament. Miller has had some bad luck since making the USA Roster for the 2021 U-19 FIBA World Cup where he tore his ACL and missed all of 2021-22 and then with Will Wade's dismissal saw the coach and team he joined leave in mass. He has three more years of eligibility due to both COVID and a redshirt season.
Brandin Podziemski - Santa Clara (So.) appeared and started in 31 games (with 1 game missed) and averaged a team high 35.9 minutes per game. He averaged a team high 19.9 points per game on an impressive .604 TS%, which included a WCC-best 43.6 % on 5.8 three point attempts per game. He averaged 3.5 assists against 2.2 turnovers, 8.8 rebounds per game (WCC-best), 1.8 steals and 0.5 blocks. Santa Clara finishes 23-9 (11-5) and were eliminated in the Quarterfinals of the WCC Tournament. They qualified for the NIT as a 6 seed where they will play Sam Houston on Wednesday. Podziemski 2nd in the WCC in Player Efficiency Rating, 2nd in Win Shares and 1st in Box Plus/Minus. Podziemski was named 1st Team All-WCC and alongside Gonzaga's Drew Timme was honored as the Co-Player of the Year in the Conference. He has found his way onto some Mock NBA Draft Boards as a 2nd round pick. Once the season is over, he will have a decision to make regarding his future, but he has 2 remaining years of eligibility if he chooses to remain in school.