Matthew Mayer Announces Transfer To Illinois Fighting Illini
May 28, 2022
Matthew Mayer announced his decision to transfer to the Illinois Fighting Illini on Friday, May 25. He had spent the previous four years with the Baylor Bears.
Mayer joining the Illini via the transfer portal
Mayer entered the NBA Draft with the option of retaining his college eligibility, and he also entered the transfer portal just before the May 1 deadline. There were three other finalists before Mayer made his decision: the North Carolina Tar Heels, the Texas Tech Red Raiders, and the Memphis Tigers.
Since January, Mayer has become the third player to join the Illini team via a transfer portal. Previously, Dain Dainja from the Bears had also joined since the semester break in January. Likewise, Terrance Shannon Jr signed the Top Ten Financial Agreements earlier this month after previously playing for the Raiders.
Mayer's stats under the Bears
In the last two seasons, Mayer has been an integral role player for the Bears. He scored a record total of 55-9 (27-5 Big 12), two No.1 seeds in the NCAA Tournament, and the 2021 NCAA tournament title.
In the 2020-21 national championship season, Mayer became a core player for the Bears. Over 30 games, Mayer's record average was 8.1 points, 3.8 rebounds and 1.2 steals while shooting 48.9 percent, including 39.5 percent from three-pointers.
Mayer also averaged 9.8 points, 5.0 rebounds, 1.2 steals, and 0.8 blocks in 33 games last season while shooting 40.9 percent, including 32.4 percent from the three-point range.
Illini currently doing a roster reshuffle
Currently, the Illini are undergoing a significant roster reshuffle and still have two scholarship slots. This relates to Trent Frazier, Da’Monte Williams, and Alfonso Plummer who have run out of collegiate eligibility. Meanwhile, Kofi Cockburn has entered the NBA Draft process for the third time and cannot withdraw.
Austin Hutcherson and Jacob Grandison also participated in the draft but have not yet announced their plans for the following season. Both of them still have one year of eligibility left.
In addition, Andre Curbelo, Brandin Podziemski, Omar Payne, and Benjamin Bosmans-Verdonk have entered their new team via the NCAA transfer portal.
Illini to benefit from Mayer's presence
So far, the Illini have always presented players with good posture on the wings of the team. The presence of the 6-foot-9 Mayer further reinforces the goals of Brad Underwood as head coach and his staff looking to build a versatile athletic team. In theory, this team's position could easily change.
After years of competing with team members who are big in stature, Illini show an impressive game in the following season. This ambition is supported by the presence of Mayer which is considered to be a big advantage for Illini.
Like Dainja, Mayer is on the Bears' national championship team in 2021. This was the starting point for him to help Illini make championship history. In addition, Mayer can also switch and play more than one position defensively, which is in line with the goals that the coach wants to achieve.