Illinois guard Jalen Coleman-Lands has been granted a release from the basketball program, according to his father. The junior will have two years of eligibility remaining after sitting out the 2017-18 season.
Sophomore Jalen Coleman-Lands is transferring from Illinois, per his father. Averaged 8 PPG last year.— Evan Daniels (@EvanDaniels) May 25, 2017
A four-star prospect out of Indianapolis, Coleman-Lands was the highest-rated player brought in by former head coach John Groce. He made an instant impact, too, by breaking Illinois’ all-time record for most three-pointers made by a freshman (87).
While he had stretches of inconsistent play and streaky shooting from behind the arc during his short time in Champaign, JCL had an excellent sophomore season, averaging 8.0 points and 2.3 rebounds per game with a 42% shooting percentage from three-point land.
Frankly, this move comes as a complete surprise. Coleman-Lands figured to be one of the key players on next season’s squad following the graduation of Malcolm Hill and others. Rumors regarding another transfer had been swirling for the past couple of weeks, but Coleman-Lands’ name wasn’t exactly on the radar until very recently.
This marks the second transfer since the acquisition of Brad Underwood in March. Junior wing D.J. Williams, another member of the 2015 recruiting class, announced his intent to leave the Fighting Illini earlier this month.
Additionally, the Orange and Blue were the victim of two defections on the recruiting trail. Four-star big man Jeremiah Tilmon (IL) and three-star wing Javon Pickett (IL) — both of whom committed to Groce — requested releases after signing their National Letters of Intent.
Put it all together, and Illinois still has an eye-popping four available scholarships for the 2017-18 season. That’s far from ideal with June right around the corner.
Luckily, the latest addition of Wright State graduate transfer Mark Alstork will make this situation far easier to deal with. The 6-foot-5 guard averaged 19.0 points per game for the Raiders last Winter, and he figures to slide right into Illinois’ starting lineup in place of Coleman-Lands.
We’ll update this post with statements from Brad Underwood and the athletic department once they've been made available.