Illinois has landed Charlotte transfer Mike Thorne, as Jon Rothstein of CBS Sports first reported Saturday. Thorne, a 6-foot-11 center, is eligible immediately.
Thorne fills a major need for Illinois. Starting big man Nnanna Egwu graduated, and the team’s depth took an additional small loss with Austin Colbert transferring.
Thorne averaged 10.1 points and 7.3 rebounds last season at Charlotte while shooting 53.4 percent from the field. He is capable of being an impact player in the Big Ten from day one.
“I just knew Illinois was the right place for me,” Thorne told ESPN. “It’s in the Big Ten, and I loved the family atmosphere.”
The Illini return a pair of skilled scorers in Malcolm Hill and Kendrick Nunn, as well as a veteran point guard in Tracy Abrams. They also add one of the Big Ten’s top recruiting classes.
Thorne could be the final piece that makes Illinois a contender for a top-four spot in the conference next season.