Illini Reserve Center Dain Dainja Transfers to Memphis

By IlliniGuys Staff

April 5, 2024

(Photo courtesy Illinois Athletics)

Illini junior center Dain Dainja announced on Friday that he is transferring to the University of Memphis for his senior season.

Dainja spent two years with the Illini program after transferring from Baylor, averaging 7.7 points and 4.5 rebounds a game.  The 6-foot-9, 270 pound center enjoyed a breakthrough run in the NCAA tournament as he averaged 12 points and 6.3 rebounds in the first games of the tourney, including a season-high 21 points in the opener against Morehead State.

With highly-touted freshman Morez Johnson arriving on campus and rising sophomore Amani Hansberry expected to play a bigger role, Dainja entered the transfer portal on Monday to look for an opportunity for more playing time.  Illinois is also considering adding another big man through the portal and there remains a possibility that all-Big Ten forward Coleman Hawkins could opt to play a fifth season for the Illini.

Memphis finished the season at 22-10, its sixth 20-win campaign in as many years under coach Anfernee Hardaway. The Tigers played in the College Invitation Tournament, losing its opener to Wichita State last month.

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