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Samba Kane enters transfer portal, per report

Illinois’ second transfer of the offseason.

NCAA Basketball: Illinois at Missouri Jeff Curry-USA TODAY Sports

Illinois sophomore center Samba Kane has entered the transfer portal, per a tweet from ESPN’s Jeff Borzello.

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.