Omar Payne enters the transfer portal after spending one season at Illinois


Ryan Ash

Junior froward Omar Payne talks with head coach Brad Underwood during the game against Michigan on Jan. 25. Payne has announced on social media that he has entered the transfer portal on Saturday.

By Jackson Janes, Staff Writer

Illinois junior center Omar Payne is entering the transfer portal after spending one season at Illinois, he announced Saturday afternoon via social media.

“I would like to start by saying thank you to my coaches, Fletch, teammates and all the fans,” Payne said in his announcement on social media. “Over the past year here at Illinois I’ve grown a ton. But with that being said I’ll be entering my name into the transfer portal and exploring my options. I look forward to my next chapter and opportunity.”

Payne averaged 7.4 minutes, 1.8 points and 1.7 rebounds while playing in 32 of the Illini’s 33 games.

After transferring from Florida, Payne was expected to take on a fairly significant role with center Kofi Cockburn’s status unknown.

Once Cockburn decided to return for a third season, Payne’s playing time was minimal. He started the first three games of the regular season during Cockburn’s suspension, but he never played more than 13 minutes in a game after that.

    Subscribe to our sports newsletter!

    His best game of the season came on the road against Nebraska on Jan. 11, as he played 10 minutes and scored a season-high eight points and four blocks in Illinois’ 81-71 win.

    Payne now enters the portal for the second straight season, and he has two years of eligibility remaining.



    [email protected]