Illinois sophomore center Samba Kane has entered the transfer portal, per a tweet from ESPN’s Jeff Borzello.
Illinois freshman center Samba Kane entered the transfer portal, sources told ESPN. 7-footer played a minimal role last season, showed some flashes in non-conference play.— Jeff Borzello (@jeffborzello) July 12, 2019
Kane is the second transfer of the Illini offseason, following freshman Anthony Higgs, who never played for Illinois.
From Dakar, Senegal, Kane never really got much of a chance to shine with the Illini. In 18 games, Kane averaged less than five minutes per contest. He scored 27 points on 59.1% shooting, which roughly averages out to 1.5 points per game. He did have 10 blocks in his limited playing time, showing off some defensive prowess. He also shot 1-for-7 from the free throw line, a whopping 14.3%. Needless to say, however, his impact was minimal.
The 7-foot-1 center was a big project for Brad Underwood and staff to take on, but with some glowing reviews this summer, it seemed like he was coming along nicely — compared. to a Matic Vesel, who played a similar role for the Illini in 2017-18.
Kane’s best game last year came against UNLV, when he scored eight points in 16 minutes and had two blocks.
Maybe with Kofi Cockburn, Bernard Kouma and Benjamin Bosmans-Verdonk in the picture – who are all freshman big men — Kane didn’t really see an opportunity anymore. Yet, the timing is still strange, as we’re pretty late in the summer and just a few weeks before the Illini’s trip to Italy.
Still, we wish him the best, and we know Giorgi will continue sambaing on, even without Samba Kane.
A previous edition of this article included Donnie Tillman on the Illini’s scholarship chart for the 2020-21 and 2021-22 seasons. He visited Illinois last week but has not committed.