Transfer season: Updates on former local high school players in the portal

A best of the best of the many players with Illinois roots who will find new college homes this fall.

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Kansas guard Isaiah Moss (4) drives past Iowa State forward Zion Griffin (0) during the second half of an NCAA college basketball game.

Kansas guard Isaiah Moss (4) drives past Iowa State forward Zion Griffin (0) during the second half of an NCAA college basketball game.

AP Photo

They’re on the move.

That’s a regularly heard and used phrase in college basketball every year at this time. The NCAA transfer portal is loaded with hundreds of players who are in search of a new college home.

Former Illinois prep stars currently litter the portal as they, too, are on the move.

Some have found landing spots while others are still in the process of sorting through their options. Here is a best of the best of the many players with Illinois roots who will find new college homes this fall.

Anthony D’Avanzo, Notre Dame (Lewis)

While he’s the only player on the list who played at the Division II level, the interest was still extremely heavy among mid-major Division I programs.

D’Avanzo emerged as a star for coach Scott Trost at Lewis this past season, averaging 15.8 points and 8.4 rebounds a game. The 6-8 D’Avanzo, a late-blooming prospect in high school, is what college programs are searching for –– a big man who can space the floor with his shooting.

D’Avanzo will be heading to Southern Illinois to play for coach Bryan Mullins, choosing the Salukis over Drake, DePaul and others who were in hot pursuit.

Lorenzo Edwards, Lake Forest (St. Joseph)

The son of former DePaul great and 13-year NBA player Kevin Edwards, the 6-8 forward redshirted as a freshman and is now a grad transfer after playing the past three seasons at St. Joseph.

His most productive season came this past year when started 20 games for the Hawks, averaging 6.9 points and five rebounds a game.

Devin Gage, Curie (DePaul)

It was a bit of an up-and-down four years for the point guard at DePaul. His best season came two years ago when he started 33 games, averaging 9.1 points, three rebounds and 3.9 assists.

Now he’s on the move with one year left to play. Gage, who helped lead Curie to the 2016 state championship as a senior, will play his final season at Fresno State.

Zion Griffin, Hinsdale South (Iowa State)

The minutes and opportunities were limited during his two seasons at Iowa State. But the athletic 6-6 forward was once a recruit with offers from Kansas and Illinois before landing with the Cyclones.

Griffin, who played 10 minutes a game this past season while averaging just three points a game, comes back home and is headed to UIC. First-year coach Luke Yaklich hopes Griffin can be a part of a foundation he’s laying at the Horizon League school.

Carlos Hines, North Lawndale (Northern Arizona)

It’s been a peculiar road for the scoring 6-3 point guard. He sat out this past season after an impactful sophomore season playing in the Big Sky Conference. He averaged 12.9 points and four assists a game while connecting on 51 three-pointers two seasons ago.

Rapolas Ivanauskas, Barrington (Northwestern/Colgate)

Ivanauskas had an unassuming stop at Northwestern. He redshirted during the 2016-2017 season and was limited to just three games due to injury the following the season.

The 6-8 forward transferred to Colgate where he put together two very productive seasons.

After sitting out a season as a transfer, Ivanauskas burst on the scene in his first season playing at Colgate. He was the Patriot League Player of the Year while averaging 15.9 points and 7.8 rebounds a game.

This past season he put up 13.1 points and 7.6 rebounds a game while earning All-Patriot League Second Team honors.

Cincinnati landed the coveted transfer last week.

Teyvion Kirk, Joliet West (Colorado State)

This is one well traveled college player as UIC, where Kirk is now headed, will be his third stop after playing two years at Ohio and spending last season at Colorado State.

While at Ohio, Teyvion put up some productive numbers as a freshman and sophomore, combining to average 14.7 points, 5.8 rebounds and 2.8 assists a game in his two years there.

The former Joliet West star transferred to Colorado State, where he sat last year, and is now coming back home to play for first-year head coach and former Joliet Twp. coach Luke Yaklich.

Connor Niego, Lyons (Holy Cross)

After missing nearly all of his sophomore season with an injury and taking a redshirt year, the 6-8 forward broke through this past season at Holy Cross. He played 30 minutes a game and averaged 8.8 points and 5.1 rebounds a game while making 33 three-pointers.

Niego is now sorting through a number of different mid-major options as a transfer.

Tamell Pearson, Morgan Park (UAB)

His contributions were limited while at UAB, but he’s an attractive player on the transfer market for both low-major and mid-major programs due to his size, athleticism and motor. The 6-9 Pearson played in 32 games, starting 19 of them, and averaged a modest 3.7 points and 3.6 rebounds a game.

Drew Peterson, Libertyville (Rice)

The former Libertyville star is a versatile 6-8 forward who put together a nice sophomore season at Rice. Peterson averaged 11.1 points, 6.5 rebounds and 3.5 assists and has two years left to play. There is a wide range of interest from mid-major and high-major programs.

Fred Scott, Simeon (Rider)

After playing a small role as a senior for Simeon, Scott landed at DePaul for the 2015-2016 season, played four games and transferred to Rider.

After sitting out the 2016-2017 season as a transfer, the skilled, big-bodied Scott has been a solid, productive piece at Rider. The 6-8, 230-pounder who can step out and make a three, was in double figures all three seasons.

Scott has been a model of consistency averaging 12.8, 12.1 and 12.6 points a game in his three seasons at Rider.

He will have one year left to play as a grad transfer and has committed to Boston College.

Mike Smith, Fenwick (Columbia)

The best of the bunch from Illinois as the former Fenwick star was one of the hottest names in the transfer portal.

He put up big numbers in the Ivy League with over 1,600 points and was one of the nation’s leading scorers last season at 24.2 points a game. Smith is a grad transfer so he’s eligible immediately.

With a surplus of high-major interest and offers, the 5-10 point guard is headed to Michigan to play for Juwan Howard.

Jimmy Sotos, Conant (Bucknell)

There was a swarm of high-major programs in pursuit of the 6-3 guard. But Ohio State made a quick, early impression and Sotos decided to commit to the Buckeyes after starting 77 games in his three-year Bucknell career.

Sotos, who will sit one to play one at Ohio State, averaged 11.5 points, 3.5 rebounds and 3.9 assists while knocking down 56 three-pointers as a junior this past season.

Zion Young, Simeon (Western Illinois)

The strong, athletic wing made an impression in his one season at Simeon. He landed at Western Illinois where he played 17 minutes a game as a freshman before making his presence felt this past season as a sophomore.

In 29 minutes of action, the rugged 6-4 guard put up 13.2 points a game along with 4.5 rebounds a game. Young still has two years of eligibility remaining.

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