CHAMPAIGN — The recent University of Illinois basketball roster churn continued Thursday with news Jalen Coleman-Lands will transfer.
Coleman-Lands, who was former head coach John Groce’s highest-ranked recruit when he signed out of La Lumiere Prep School in La Porte, Ind., would have been a junior after averaging 8.0 points per game as a sophomore in Groce’s final season.
Coleman-Lands set an Illini freshman record by making 87 3-pointers in 2015-16. He averaged 10.3 points as a freshman. But while hitting 42 percent of his 3s as a first-year player, his accuracy fell off as a sophomore when he made 38 percent of his threes.
Rumors of Coleman-Lands' intention to transfer were confirmed Thursday when his father said he had been granted a release by Illinois coach Brad Underwood.
Two players Underwood was inheriting and two recruits who originally committed to Groce will not be with the program when Underwood’s first season begins in November. Previously, D.J. Williams — who like Coleman-Lands would have been a junior — asked for and was granted his release. Recruits Jeremiah Tilmon and Javon Pickett also were given their releases.
Underwood has added two players, including Edwardsville High School senior and Illinois Mr. Basketball award winner Mark Smith and Wright State graduate transfer Mark Alstork, who committed to the Illini on Wednesday. Coleman-Lands’ transfer gives Underwood four open scholarships from his NCAA-allowed allotment of 13.
He has said he is pursuing a big man for the 2017 class and he has implied he might hold onto one or two of the scholarships in order to balance the recruiting classes moving forward. Underwood and his staff have a number of scholarship offers they have handed out to 2018 and 2019 prospects.
It’s possible Coleman-Lands might be looking to transfer to DePaul. His former high school coach, Shane Heirman, has joined the coaching staff for the Blue Demons.
Coleman-Lands will have two years of eligibility remaining after sitting out the 2017-18 season.