College Basketball: Transforming Gateway Treasures, Top 10 Locals Heading For

The busy, energetic, and exciting gateway to transfer talk in college basketball this spring featured dozens of former Illinois prep products in motion.

Many of the former high school stars in Illinois are influential players and nearly all of them have found a new home for the upcoming season.

Here are the top 10 diversions and where they’re headed (listed alphabetically).

Darius Burford, Bolingbrook (Elon to Illinois)

Huge addition to first-year coach Ryan Beedon at Illinois State. The jet-setter is dynamic in the backcourt and is fresh with an average of 13.4 points, 4.1 rebounds and three assists as a sophomore this past season.

Bryce Hopkins, Fenwick (Kentucky to Providence)

A fresh start for the country’s former top 50 players as a high school student. Hopkins played moderately as a freshman in Kentucky, averaging just six minutes a game. The 6-6 striker will have a great opportunity to establish himself in the Greater East region this season.

Conor Kuchera, St. Viator (William and Mary to Davidson)

Kochera hit the ground running in his freshman year of college basketball. As a freshman, he averaged 13.4 points and 4.8 rebounds. These numbers led to the title of Rising Colonizer of the Year.

As a sophomore this past season, 6-5 ace Kochera put in 10.9 points, 4.8 rebounds, and 1.8 assists. He raised the three-point count from 25 as a freshman to 44 in the second year.

Now he is making a huge step up from the Colonial Athletic Federation to the 10th Atlantic Champion.

Dante Maddox Jr., Bloom (Cal-State Fullerton to Toledo)

The athletic 6-2 strongman created Heck for a new season two years ago. Maddox averaged 11.9 points, 2.1 rebounds, and 1.8 assists while shooting 43 percent from three and 90 percent from the line. Last season, he averaged 6.8 points per game.

Maddox is now heading into a program where many Illinois products have thrived over the years.

Javon Beckett, Belleville East (Missouri to St. Louis)

After four years in Missouri, starting 84 games and scoring 950 career points, the 6-4 strongman is approaching his home run in his final college season. Beckett averaged 11.1 points and 3.1 rebounds last season for the Tigers.

Xavier Pinson, Simeon (LSU to New Mexico State)

The smooth point guard was fruitful in both key points.

In his junior season at Mizzou, his last season there before moving to LSU, Pinson averaged 13.6 points and 2.9 assists.

Last season for fired LSU coach Will Wade, Benson was a key player on the SEC and averaged 9.8 points while increasing his assists and stealing the numbers to 4.8 and 1.9, respectively.

Antonio Reeves, Simeon (Illinois to Kentucky)

After a season averaging 20.1 points and a three-year career scoring nearly 1,200 career points, Reeves has been one of the most sought-after players on the transfer portal.

His shooting is excellent in the game today, and Reeves made 76 three-pointers when he was young while shooting a very respectable 39 percent from outside the arc.

Terence Shannon Jr., Lincoln Park (from Texas Tech to Illinois)

Physical features off the charts. 6-6 tall deer that can run with bouncers in the open floor and rise off the ground like anyone.

Shannon has a great deal of high-level experience, including 21 starts for the 2020 Final Four as a freshman. He set modest numbers last season, averaging 10.4 points, 2.6 rebounds and two assists.

Illinois and coach Brad Underwood will welcome all that Shannon has to offer next season.

Malachi Smith, Belleville West (Tennessee-Chattanooga for its Rapporteur)

After entering the transfer gate just a few weeks ago, Smith is working with the NBA teams while still focusing on a potential landing site in college.

The guard blossomed 6-4 into a star that led Chattanooga to the NCAA Championship berth this past season. He averaged 19.9 points, 6.7 rebounds, and three assists. A two-time All-Southern Conference performer, he scored over 1,300 career points in his three years.

Jeremiah Williams, Simeon (from Temple to Iowa)

6-5 Williams is a stat sheet player and as versatile as he comes, he is able to play and defend multiple positions.

In his years at Temple, starting 37 games, Williams has proven to be an elite defender, with his two-year career figures of 9.4 points, 3.5 rebounds and 4.2 assists showing his overall productivity.