By the Numbers
The Wright State transferred started all 32 games as an Illini, but his numbers don’t necessarily depict a guy who should’ve started all year. Mark Alstork averaged just under six points, 3.4 rebounds, and 1.8 assists per game. Compare that to some of his numbers from his junior year at Wright State, 19 points, 4.7 rebounds, and 3.5 assists per contest. He also saw a significant cut in minutes, dropping from over 30 to just 22 a night. His numbers were slightly better during conference play, but his best games were early on in the non-conference schedule.
Impact on the Illini
Alstork got to keep his starting job throughout the year because he was the best defender on the team, and that was really the only reason. He shot just 33 percent from the field and an even worse 24 percent from three. Simply put, the graduate transfer just wasn’t a threat on the offensive end. He scored in double-digits just six times, compared to 19 games with five points or less — ouch.
Nevertheless, Alstork was usually tasked with guarding the opposing team’s best player, and did a decent job more times than not. Whilst having the toughest defensive matchup, Alstork had some pretty respectable advanced statistics. He was tied for second on the team in DWS (Defensive Win Shares) at 0.9, and among players with significant minutes, he led with a 2.9 DBPM (Defensive Box Plus/Minus.)
Alstork’s Best Game
Mark Alstork’s best game was at Ohio State, where he scored a season-high 19 points, pulled down three rebounds, and also came away with three steals. It was one of his best shooting performances on there year, going 6-11 from the field including a three.
Here’s some of Alstork turning that defense into offense:
Mark Alstork ~ Illini take the lead pic.twitter.com/sUcHnBQm4e— IllinoisLoyalty (@IllinoisLoyalty) February 4, 2018
And probably the highlight of Alstork’s career. Picking future lottery selection, Miles Bridges’ pocket:
All in All
The Illini fanbase had high hopes for a guy who tested the NBA draft process last year. An All-First Team Horizon League selection and proven scorer at the mid-major Division I level, his game unfortunately just didn’t carry over to the big time. He was told from scouts that he needed to improve his defensive game to be an NBA draft pick, but his skill set just didn’t translate. Alstork was a guy who scored in double figures in 27 of his 32 games as a junior with 17 games of 20+, but the Illini didn’t get a single game at 20 from him all season. His graduate year was immensely underwhelming.
Alstork was supposed to help fill some of the void left by Malcolm Hill, but it just wasn’t meant to be.
Aaron Jordan, Kipper Nichols, incoming recruit Alan Griffin and target Tevian Jones will make the wing positions their home next year. It was a weakness this past season, but these guys will look to change that.