Dain Dainja entering transfer portal

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Apr. 1—CHAMPAIGN — The transfer portal giveth, and the transfer portal taketh.

Less than two hours after Illinois secured a commitment from Mercer transfer Jake Davis late Monday morning, Illini forward/center Dain Dainja announced he would enter the portal.

“First off, I would like to thank all of the coaching staff for bringing me into this program with open arms,” Dainja wrote in a note on social media. “It was truly an honor to be a part of this amazing group and being able to win a Big Ten championship. I’d also like to thank (strength and conditioning coach Adam Fletcher) for putting in countless hours of work and helping me reach my full potential.

“And finally I’d like to thank Illini Nation for your continued support the past couple of years. I am thankful to be getting my degree from the University of Illinois, and I will be forever grateful for the opportunity I had here. This place will forever be family to me! With that said, I will be entering the transfer portal.”

Dainja’s role changed this season for Illinois. The 6-foot-9 big man basically saw his playing time cut in half from the season prior, as the Illini shifted to a more versatile lineup with Coleman Hawkins starting at the 5. Dainja played 10.8 minutes per game in 2023-24, averaging 6.1 points and 3.6 rebounds.

In a role defined by matchups, Dainja had a pair of standout postseason performances. He scored 18 points in the Big Ten tournament quarterfinals against Ohio State, sparking a needed second-half comeback to beat the Buckeyes, and did the same in the first round of the NCAA tournament with 21 points against Morehead State.

Dainja played two seasons at Illinois after transferring from Baylor. The Brooklyn Park, Minn., native redshirted in 2020-21 during the Bears’ national championship season because of a foot injury and left Waco, Texas, after just three games in 2021-22 before landing in Champaign and sitting out the remainder of that season. Dainja would have one season of eligibility…

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Source link : https://sports.yahoo.com/dain-dainja-entering-transfer-portal-175900449.html

Author : The News-Gazette, Champaign-Urbana, Ill.

Publish date : 2024-04-01 17:59:00

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