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Illinois lands transfer big man

Apr. 16—GIFFORD — Illinois started the month of April with an in-and-out day in the transfer portal. Mercer forward Jake Davis committed. Dain Dainja said he was leaving.

Tuesday was basically a repeat in reverse. Illini forward Amani Hansberry announced he was entering the portal just before noon, and Notre Dame forward Carey Booth committed in the early evening hours.

"Very, very excited about him as a guy that can play multiple positions," Illinois coach Brad Underwood said of Booth. "Really, the 3-4-5. On the perimeter, he's got great, great size and length and athleticism. He can really shoot it and really run."

Booth started 19 of 33 games for Notre Dame as a freshman during the 2023-24 season. The 6-foot-10, 203-pound forward averaged 6.4 points and 4.3 rebounds in 19.9 minutes per game. He shot 39 percent overall, 30 percent from three-point range on nearly four attempts per game and 63 percent at the free throw line.

Booth, the son of longtime NBA pro turned Denver Nuggets general manager Calvin Booth, was a consensus four-star recruit in the Class of 2023. He originally committed to Penn State — his dad's alma mater — and followed coach Micah Shrewsberry to Notre Dame.

Illinois has now secured four players in the portal this offseason. Davis was the first, with Louisville guard Tre White and Arizona guard Kylan Boswell to follow. Booth's commitment coupled with Hansberry's decision to transfer puts Illinois back at three open scholarships for the 2024-25 season.

"We feel good about this group, and we'll continue to keep diving into the portal," Underwood said.