Jacob Grandison enters transfer portal after two seasons with Illinois

Guard+Jacob+Grandison+goes+for+a+lay+up+during+the+game+against+Ohio+State+on+Feb.+25.+Grandison+has+entered+the+transfer+portal+on+Tuesday+after+withdrawling+from+the+NBA+draft.+

Cameron Krasucki

Guard Jacob Grandison goes for a lay up during the game against Ohio State on Feb. 25. Grandison has entered the transfer portal on Tuesday after withdrawling from the NBA draft.

By James Kim, Assistant Sports Editor

After withdrawing his name from the 2022 NBA Draft last Sunday, graduate student forward Jacob Grandison has chosen to use his final year of eligibility and entered the transfer portal on Tuesday, per Matt Zenitz on Twitter for On3.

After spending two years actively playing for Illinois, the forward will be departing from a program that is losing nearly all of its top scorers from last season. Grandison, who averaged 9.6 points and 3.8 rebounds during the 2021-22 campaign, was an important player for head coach Brad Underwood.

“He’s a guy that’s had a wonderful impact,” said Underwood last month via a press release, “Who’s probably as important to our success as any player we had. You start looking at him from an offensive efficiency number with him compared to without him, he made us one of the top teams in the country, in efficiency.”

Grandison played an important role in Illinois’ success over the previous two seasons, where the team secured both Big Ten and Big Ten tournament titles. Particularly this past season, the graduate student forward played a larger role and was able to be relied on for important points, especially from beyond the arc where he shot 41% from three. However, while Grandison’s experience and ability will certainly be missed at Illinois, the program still has much to look forward to.

Already, fans next season will be watching a very different Illini team than the one he finished the previous season with. With players such as Terrence Shannon Jr., Matthew Mayer, Dain Dainja, Skyy Clark, Ty Rodgers, Jayden Epps and Sencire Harris all joining the program, Illinois has been actively improving the team via both the transfer portal and heavy recruiting. Simply put, before the additions of all these high-caliber players, the announcement of Grandison’s departure would have come with far greater weight for the program. However, with the increased competition for starting jobs next season, Grandison’s starting role from last season may not have been guaranteed.

The Illini should still land on their feet after the news of Grandison entering the transfer portal, but the forward’s exit reduces the amount of experience on Underwood’s 2022–23 roster. Over the course of the past two years, Grandison played in 60 games for Illinois, starting in 39 of them. He averaged 7.1 points, 1.8 assists and 3.6 rebounds in his time wearing the orange and blue, and will be remembered for his role in helping the program bring home Big Ten silverware.

The 2022–23 season will be Grandison’s final year of eligibility.

 

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