Since taking over as head coach of the Illinois basketball program, head coach Brad Underwood has gotten closer to restoring a winning tradition in Champaign than any other coach has since Bruce Weber led the Illini to the National Championship Game in 2005. Underwood has largely been successful because of he and his staff's savvy work utilizing the transfer portal. Last year's team, which was the most successful Illini squad since that aforementioned '05 team, was built largely through the transfer portal. Terrence Shannon Jr. came from Texas Tech, Marcus Domask from Southern Illinois, Quincy Guerrier began his collegiate career at Oregon. This is the state of college basketball in 2024, and Underwood clearly recognizes it.

Now, with six of their eight top players from last year either departing for the transfer portal or the NBA Draft, the Illini once again have work to do in order to replenish their roster to keep the program near the top of an expanding Big Ten Conference. But they're off to a good start, securing a Champaign native who is ready to come back home. Arizona point guard Kylan Boswell took to Instagram to announce that he intends to play for the Illini during the 2024-25 season.

“It is important I focus on being the person I was raised to be and become the basketball player I am supposed to be,” Boswell wrote on Instagram, per Jeremy Werner of 247 Sports. “I know this requires great commitment, discipline and work. Champaign-Urbana has always been a part of my success, and I will wear Illinois on my chest with pride. I am excited to pursue my dreams with Coach Underwood and his staff. Thank you Illini nation for your love and support. I feel blessed to be coming home.”

The Illini will need to find a scoring punch to make up for the loss of Terrence Shannon Jr., who averaged 23.3 points per game last year for the Big Ten Tournament champions. Kylan Boswell has yet to show that he can provide that type of scoring punch, but the third-year starter is only nineteen years old, and he made a big leap forward from his freshman season to his sophomore season. Even if Boswell doesn't project to ever be a 23-point-per-game scorer (and for clarity, very few college players do), he's still going to walk into the Big Ten as one of the better point guards in the conference. And who knows, maybe Wisconsin transfer AJ Storr will soon be on his way to Illinois too, giving the Illini a terrific backcourt duo.

Boswell has terrific size for the point guard position, a nice handle, and an old-school mentality. He's a floor general who can manufacture good looks for himself or his teammates out of the pick and roll, and again, he's young and consistently proving he's capable of handling more than Arizona had put on his plate.

Brad Underwood will have more work to do to keep Illinois in the hunt for a second-consecutive Big Ten Tournament title, but the addition of Kylan Boswell is a great place to start.