New University of Illinois head coach John Groce got his second recruit today. The Illini announced today Coastal Carolina’s Sam McLaurin has signed a tender of financial aid and will transfer to Illinois for his final season of eligibility upon earning his bachelor’s degree in May.
Because he will be enrolled as a graduate student at Illinois majoring in a major that Coastal Carolina does not have, he will be eligible to compete immediately during the 2012-13 season under the NCAA one-time transfer exception. He fills a huge need in frontcourt that lacked depth lat season. And now with the departure of Meyers Leonard to the NBA, it truly is in need of another big.
McLaurin is a 6-8, 230-pound forward who started all 31 games for the Chanticleers last season, averaging 10.0 points, 7.5 rebounds and 1.2 blocks while shooting 65.2 percent from the field. He scored a career high 20 on March 13 against Old Dominion and grabbed a career-high 16 rebounds in a victory over LSU on Nov. 15. He totaled 674 points and shot nearly 62 percent during his four-year career and owns the Coastal Carolina record for career blocked shots with 155 while ranking seventh on the school’s all-time rebounding list with 647 boards.
“Sam fills that need, and by earning his degree, he will have the opportunity to contribute immediately. He rebounds and blocks shots, and is a strong finisher inside. Sam has tremendous athleticism and is a versatile player who fits our style of play at both ends of the floor.”
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