“Illini nation, I first want to start off by saying thank you and welcoming me with open arms and supporting me through the years," Griffin wrote in a tweet. "I also want to thank the university, my teammates, the coaching staff, and all of the staff. After careful thought and consideration; I have decided to enter my name in the transfer portal. I wish all of the upcoming and current players and the coaching staff best of luck next season. Please respect my decision.”
“I think he thinks score a lot," Illinois coach Brad Underwood said after the Northwestern game. "I think the problem at different times with him has been consistency on the other end. There’s starting to be tremendous trust. We’ve always known he can do that, and we’ve seen it at various times. He adds another dimension. The thing he did (against Northwestern) — and we all know he can shoot and rebound — he made some nice drives to the basket and made a couple nice passes. Alan is becoming a really, really good college, Big Ten basketball player."
Said freshman Kofi Cockburn on Feb. 27: “He’s definitely a really important piece for us with his shooting capability. Just his defense, his motor and rebounding the ball. He means a lot for us going forward."
Griffin had a red-hot end of December and beginning of January, scoring in double figures in four consecutive games. He was suspended two games at the end of January for stepping on Purdue's Sasha Stefanovic. He scored at least nine points in six straight games in February.
With the graduation of Andres Feliz, Griffin could have been a starter next season for the Illini. Underwood had continually likened his team's growth — from a program record for single-season losses to what would have been a berth in the NCAA Tournament, which was canceled because of the COVID-19 pandemic — to Griffin's growth.
Griffin averaged 2.8 points as a freshman before breaking into a bigger role his sophomore season.
Transfer wing players Jacob Grandison and Austin Hutcherson will be available to play next season after sitting out this year per NCAA transfer rules. Grandison started all 33 games as a sophomore at Holy Cross in the 2018-19 season and led the team with 13.9 points per game. He's a 6-foot-6 forward who will have two remaining seasons of eligibility.
Hutcherson transferred to Illinois from Division III Wesleyan University where he started all 25 games as a sophomore and averaged 20 points per game. He's also listed at 6-foot-6 and will have two seasons of eligibility.
PHOTOS: 31 amazing Illinois basketball history photos
31 amazing Illini basketball history photos
Lou Henson in 1993
Easy does it
Free for all
Hero of the hour
Illinois v. Iowa
Talk of the Big Ten
To the wire
Whiz Kids Big Ten champs in '42, '43
Wrong, Mr. Referee
Contact Joey Wagner at (217) 421-6970. Follow him on Twitter: @mrwagner25
Brad Underwood doesn't typically reflect during a season, or at least do so publicly. The Illinois men's basketball head coach keeps his focus on the game on front of him. Any deep thought on successes or failures of a specific season can be kicked down the road when there isn't a game to win.
The NCAA transfer portal has taken on a life of its own. Each day, seemingly, a new player enters and starts the recruiting process over again. Navigating the portal is becoming as important as having a pulse on high school recruiting class.
The University of Illinois Athletics department announced its 2020 Hall of Fame class on Tuesday. The class includes athletes and coaches from nine different sports and covers athletes from 1901 through 2013.