The independent student newspaper at the University of Illinois since 1871

The Daily Illini

The independent student newspaper at the University of Illinois since 1871

The Daily Illini

The independent student newspaper at the University of Illinois since 1871

The Daily Illini

The independent student newspaper at the University of Illinois since 1871

The Daily Illini

Notes, player grades from Illinois men’s basketball’s 51-point victory over Ottawa

James Hoeck
Forward Amani Hansberry keeps his eye on the ball during the second half of Illinois exhibition match against Ottawa on Friday. The second half concluded the game set against Ottawa 116-65 in favor of Illinois.

College basketball returned to Champaign on Friday night, and to very little surprise, the Illini trounced the visiting Ottawa Braves. Heavy rotating allowed a look at the entire squad, with everyone getting minutes on the court to contribute to the 116-65 victory. With a combination of familiar and fresh faces on the floor for Illinois, the team’s first exhibition gave fans reasons to be exhilarated about the eventual official start of the 2023-24 season. 


The new faces in Champaign are very exciting, can take this team far

The incoming transfers and freshman players stood out on Friday night for all the right reasons. The veterans such as Domask, Harmon and Guerrier all looked extremely comfortable in their State Farm Center debuts, and the freshmen all played like they belonged. Head coach Brad Underwood’s recruitment over the past offseason is looking very promising, with the fresh faces all looking like strong additions to the program after Friday night’s performance.


Terrence Shannon Jr. (A)

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After exploring the NBA process this past summer, Shannon’s return to the State Farm Center highlighted exactly why Illini fans celebrated his decision to play one more season in Champaign. It was a classic Shannon performance: explosive offense and shot-blocking defense. The Chicago native also recorded two steals that eventually resulted in free throws for the Illini on the other end of the court.

The fifth-year guard lit up the arena early with his effort and powerful drives to the rim. In 15 minutes on the floor, Shannon managed to lead the team with 18 points on 6-9 shooting from the field. The only blotch on the Chicago native’s stat line was his 0-3 shooting from the triple, but 6-6 free throw shooting and equally perfect finishing from inside the arc spelled out a strong evening from the guard.


Luke Goode (B-)

The sharpshooting guard certainly looked the part in the opening five minutes of the game. Goode was locked in, shooting a perfect 3-3 from the field including two three-point makes. Despite the impressive start, however, Goode wasn’t able to maintain this form and cooled off during the remainder of the game. 

The junior guard also played for 15 minutes and finished the night with 11 points on 4-11 shooting. The prolific three-point shooting in the first half also took a drastic hit as Goode finished the night 3-10 from the triple while also recording two rebounds and assists each. While not a bad showing from Goode, there is plenty of room for the junior to build off of his Friday night showing.


Ty Rodgers (B)

After being given the start on Friday night, Rodgers played out a solid performance and was a physical presence on the floor for Illinois. Bringing down eight total rebounds, five of which were on the defensive end, the Saginaw, Michigan native brought consistent hustle all over the court. The only downside was it was a quiet night for the sophomore guard in the scoring department, as Rodgers shot 1-1 from the field and 0-3 FT.


Marcus Domask (A+)

Domask shined in his State Farm Center debut and gave Illini fans plenty of reasons to be excited about his arrival in Champaign. The fifth-year was alert and one of the hardest-working players on the floor, diving for loose balls and fighting for rebounds. He played with the exact type of fire that Underwood demands from his teams. However, it wasn’t just pure effort that highlighted Domask’s night. 

The fifth-year forward played out a very balanced game, shooting well while also snagging rebounds and dishing the rock out to others. Domask shot 3-6 from the field and 2-5 from three, finishing the contest with eight points. Six rebounds and assists each top off the Waupun, Wisconsin native’s display. During his 20 minutes on the court, Domask helped facilitate the team’s play and meshed well with whoever was on the court with him. 


Coleman Hawkins (A)

Just like Shannon, Hawkins also returns to the Illini after exploring the NBA route. It was a good offensive night for the senior forward, who recorded 10 points on 4-5 shooting from the field. While outside shooting was an area in need of improvement last season, Hawkins was sharp on Friday night, nailing two of his three attempts from beyond the arc. The 6-foot-10-inch forward also pulled down five rebounds, all on the defensive end, and also recorded two assists. 

Hawkins did well in distributing the ball offensively, which in turn resulted in good shot selections from the senior. Defensively, however, was where the forward was most locked in, forcing an impressive five turnovers against the Braves.


Sencire Harris (C+)

After a very promising debut season in Champaign last year, Harris comes into 2023-24 with a mountain of expectations on his shoulders. Friday night was an underwhelming one for the sophomore, however, as the Canton, Ohio native wasn’t able to truly find his footing against the Braves. In only 11 minutes, Harris shot 0-3 from the field and recorded a single assist and rebound each. Luckily, with a whole season ahead of him there are still plenty of reasons to be excited about the guard and his ability on the floor.


Justin Harmon (A)

Harmon also enjoyed a strong State Farm Center debut, playing well on the wings and shooting 2-3 from beyond the arc. The guard looked composed on the floor and began to heat up in the second half, finishing the game with 11 points on 3-4 shooting from the field and 3-4 finishing from the free-throw line. Harmon’s looking like a solid pickup for Underwood’s squad. 


Dain Dainja (A-)

Dainja brought the crowd to its feet on numerous occasions with signature dunks that Illini fans have come to expect from the forward. In 14 minutes on the court, Dainja shot a perfect 4-4 from the field and finished the game with eight points, four rebounds and two blocks. It was a routine night for the Illini big man, who looked unstoppable on Friday night.


Quincy Guerrier (B)

Guerrier put in a solid shift against the Braves, looking more and more comfortable as the game progressed. In his State Farm Center debut, one thing the Montreal native did not lack was confidence in shooting the ball. Guerrier scored 10 points in 16 minutes on the floor, though only hit one of his five attempts from three. Overall, the fifth-year shot 4-8 from the field and snagged three rebounds on the night.


Niccolo Moretti (B-)

Moretti also looked increasingly more comfortable facilitating the offense as time went on. While it wasn’t the strongest shooting night for the redshirt freshman (1-4 from the field), Moretti did well taking more of a playmaking role on the team. The guard did well in distributing the ball and dished out four assists.


Dra Gibbs-Lawhorn (A-)

Gibbs-Lawhorn was one of the bright spots for Illini fans following a strong second-half showing. The freshman ended the night as the second-highest scorer with 15 points in 17 minutes. The guard became much more involved in the offense later in the game, and things immediately started to click. Gibbs-Lawhorn shot 6-10 from the field, pulled down four rebounds and dished out three assists. 

The only true pitfalls for the freshman were turning the ball over on three separate occasions, a team-high, as well as shooting 1-4 from the free-throw line. However, for the Lafayette, Indiana native’s first-ever collegiate game, there isn’t much to complain about after what was an exciting early performance from the guard.


Amani Hansberry (A+)

Hansberry was a force to be reckoned with against Ottawa and played like an experienced collegiate player on Friday night. The freshman forward introduced himself to the Illini fan base with a double-double performance in only 14 total minutes on the floor, not a bad first impression. Hansberry scored 14 points on 7-9 field goal shooting and brought down 12 rebounds. It was everything you could hope for when it comes to a freshman’s debut. The forward was confident, willing to compete and performed like a starter against the Braves, a very promising start for the big man. 


AJ Redd (N/A)

Redd had a productive seven minutes on the floor, snagging four rebounds, securing an assist and hitting a single three.


Keaton Kutcher (N/A)

In six minutes Kutcher secured a steal and assist, and like Redd, knocked down a three. 


Max Williams (N/A)

Shot 1-2 from the free-throw line in four minutes on the court.



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About the Contributors
James Kim
James Kim, Sports Editor
My name is James Kim and I’m a senior studying English with a minor in business. This is my third year with The Daily Illini and it’s been an amazing ride so far. When I joined in fall 2021, I began as a staff writer for the sports section where I covered women’s tennis. In spring 2022, I became an assistant sports editor and started covering soccer and Illinois men’s basketball. From spring 2023 onwards I’ve been working as the sports editor! In addition to being an Illini and Real Madrid fanatic, I also love watching movies and TV shows. If you have any questions about writing for The DI, you can reach me at my email below. I-L-L!
James Hoeck
James Hoeck, Photo Editor
Heyo! I am James Hoeck, a third-year undergraduate student in photography with a minor in media. I have been a part of Illini Media for two years, starting back in fall 2021. I hold the position of Photo Editor here at The Daily Illini. I also work as Photo Editor for Illini Media’s Illio Yearbook. There is a good chance you will see me out and about on campus taking photos for my personal work or for The DI and/or Illio! If you want to check out more of my work, visit my socials linked below.
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