Pac-12 transfer receiving interest from the Illini

The Illinois basketball program is interested in one of the best guards in the transfer portal.

There has been a lot of transfer portal activity this offseason. It is being reported that there are north of 1,000 players who are currently looking for a new home, and that number continues to grow by the day. The Illini have actually had a couple of their own players enter the portal since the season concluded.

Losing Andre Curbelo and Omar Payne is going to force Brad Underwood to adjust his roster and the players he targets in the transfer portal. Illinois has been in contact with numerous players who are in the portal, and one of the latest names to know is Jarod Lucas.

According to Jake Weingarten of Stockrisers.com, Illinois is one of the latest teams to have an interest in Lucas. The Illini now joins a plethora of other programs that hope to land the Pac-12 standout.

Coming out of Hacienda Heights High School in 2019, Lucas was just a three-star recruit who was ranked as the No. 295 player that year. The 6-foot-2, 180-pound combo guard didn’t have a ton of high-level offers, but he would end up landing with the Oregon State Beavers.

Lucas would spend three seasons with the Beavers, and he improved his game every year. Now, with one year of eligibility left, he is looking to make a name for himself on a bigger stage.

Jarod Lucas would bring a lot of firepower to the Illinois basketball roster.

The run Lucas had with Oregon State was pretty impressive. After his first year of averaging 4.6 points and just 34.2% from the three-point range, Lucas built himself into one of the best players in the Pac-12.

In his final season with the Beavers, Lucas ended up averaging 13.5 points, 2.3 rebounds, and 1.2 assists per game while shooting 41.5% from the field, 38.6% from the three-point range, and 87.1% from the free throw line.

Lucas’ shooting numbers pique my interest the most. There were only three Illinois players who shot better than Lucas from the three-point range this past season – RJ Melendez, Jacob Grandison, Alfonso Plummer – and two out of the three are likely gone. That means there is plenty of shooting available to be replenished.

Illinois also has experience bringing in a Pac-12 player and elevating them to new heights. Plummer transferred in from Utah and went from averaging 13.6 points and 38.3% from three-point range with the Utes to 14.6 points and 40.8% from three-point range with the Illini.

The one thing that does have me a bit hesitant is that Lucas plays in a spot where I want some of the young guys to play next season. Luke Goode and Brandin Podziemski need to get more minutes. Bringing in a No. 2 guard to start would only hinder their progression. That worries me a little bit.

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