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French big man Zacharie Perrin joins Illinois, immediately eligible

The Illini are getting reinforcements.

U18 Next Generation Select Team v U18 Crvena Zvezda mts Belgrade - EB Adidas Next Generation Tournament Photo by David Grau/Euroleague Basketball via Getty Images

The Illini are getting a boost in the front court.

On Tuesday, Illinois announced big man Zacharie Perrin was eligible immediately after joining the team.

Perrin signed with the Illini in June, but he spent his first semester of the school year at Sunrise Christian in Kansas.

While this half-season of play will count as a year of eligibility, the Illini can certainly use the 6-foot-10 forward’s skills. Coleman Hawkins and Dain Dainja have split time at the 4 and 5, and neither has the complete skillset that Perrin may offer.

TCR’s Kyle Tausk wrote about that skillset this summer.

First and foremost, this kid is just a straight-up bucket-getter. It’s easy to see how he averaged nearly 22 points per game in France when you watch his footwork in the post combined with his ability to drive and score with both hands.

Perrin has played pro ball in France and in the FIBA U18 European Championships. He was named MVP in France’s B league after posting 21.5 points, 10.9 rebounds, 2.7 assists and 1.5 steals.

“We’re excited to have Zach arrive on campus and begin his academic and athletic career at the University of Illinois,” said head coach Brad Underwood in a statement. “He has remained loyal to us throughout the recruiting process and is eager to officially be an Illini. Joining a team midseason is certainly a unique situation, but Zach is a driven, committed young man who takes school and basketball seriously. Our coaches and support staff, as well as our players, are here to welcome him and offer support throughout this transition.”

Illinois’ next game is Thursday night in St. Louis for the annual Braggin’ Rights contest against Missouri.