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Dain Dainja returning to Illinois

The Illini big man isn’t going anywhere.

NCAA Basketball: Big Ten Conference Tournament Second Round - Illinois vs Penn State Kamil Krzaczynski-USA TODAY Sports

Dain Dainja will be back in Champaign for another year.

The Illinois big man announced via his Twitter page on Monday that he’ll be returning to Illinois for his second season in orange and blue, and fourth in college overall.

Dainja announced his transfer to Illinois from Baylor in November 2021, departing the Bears’ program midseason. Per NCAA rules, he was forced to sit out after joining the Illini for the second semester of the 2021-22 season.

During this past season, Dainja started 21 games for Illinois, averaging 9.5 points, 5.5 rebounds, and 1.2 blocks while shooting 63.6% from the floor.

Dainja scored a career-high 22 points on Dec. 29 in a game against Bethune-Cookman.

He also led the Illini in scoring with a 20-point effort that helped defeat the Michigan State Spartans on Jan. 13 at State Farm Center.

Dainja is the 2nd Illini player to officially announce their return to the program for the 2022-23 season, joining Luke Goode who shared his own news last Thursday.

His return will bolster the Illini frontcourt for next season and pair with incoming 2023 four-star freshman forward Amani Hansberry. Coleman Hawkins will also have a decision to make about his future in the coming weeks.