CHAMPAIGN — Dain Dainja turned his sights on Illinois as shortly as he determined he was likely to enter the transfer portal and depart the Baylor men’s basketball software.
Dainja presently experienced a relationship established with both of those Illinois coach Brad Underwood and 1st-yr assistant coach Tim Anderson. The Illini recruited Dainja out of Park Center (Minn.), and Anderson worked with the Chicago native separately six to 7 several years in the past.
So that built Dainja’s first pay a visit to after entering the portal to Champaign a no-brainer.
The 6-foot-9, 270-pound middle experienced a entrance-row seat for Friday night’s activity against UT Rio Grande Valley at Condition Farm Heart and will have to have liked what he saw adequate — specifically how the Illini utilized Kofi Cockburn — to dedicate to Underwood and Co. on Saturday night.
“I come to feel like Illinois matches my activity a great deal,” Diana stated. “That’s 1 factor I didn’t seriously fork out notice to back in significant college. It was just like, ‘Oh, I’m getting presented by Illinois. It’s great.’ Actually looking at them — Kofi’s purpose, (Coleman Hawkins’) job — which is type of how I play. With Coleman, I truly like that simply because he can set the ball on the ground. Just speaking with Coach Underwood, he likes multipurpose bigs, so I come to feel like I would healthy excellent.”
Illinois will be equipped to increase Dainja to the roster beginning in the second semester after Underwood precisely held a single scholarship open for this precise motive.
Dainja will ultimately assist shore up an Illini frontcourt that is most likely to reduce Cockburn next the 2021-22 year.
Dainja was a consensus 4-star recruit in the Class of 2020 and was ranked as large as No. 52 nationally by ESPN. He redshirted the 2020-21 time at Baylor following an injury necessitated surgery ahead of that season. Dainja played just 9 minutes in the Bears’ first a few game titles of the season and totaled 6 details, 3 rebounds and just one block participating in at the rear of each Jonathan Tchamwa Tchatchoua and Flo Thamba.
“The method is a little diverse,” Dainja claimed about staying recruited once again the moment he hit the portal. “Baylor was interesting — I figured out a large amount from Baylor — but it just did not get the job done out. I’m thrilled.”
The Illinois coaching workers stressed the developmental part of its program in re-recruiting Dainja. That the Illini can stage to how Ayo Dosunmu turned into a consensus First Crew All-American in three seasons and how Cockburn could properly do the exact immediately after earning consensus 2nd Group All-American honors past time was portion of the pitch.
So was Anderson’s presence on personnel. That pre-current partnership performed a important job.
“When I was 13-14 many years outdated I utilised to train in Chicago,” Dainja reported. “I went to the Tony Allen Camp, and just after that I started off functioning with Tim with my more mature brother. Viewing him on the Illinois workers is genuine interesting. We’ve obtained that relationship. I know how tricky these workouts were with me and Tim, and I know I can get superior functioning with any individual like him. He’s trained tons of professionals — even a single of my favorites, Anthony Davis. Just that right there is great.”
Scott Richey is a reporter masking college basketball at The News-Gazette. His email is [email protected], and you can follow him on Twitter (@srrichey).