Illini Wing RJ Melendez Makes It Official By Entering The Portal

By Kedric Prince - IlliniGuys.com Director of Recruiting

April 3, 2023

After two seasons in Orange and Blue, RJ Melendez is looking elsewhere as he entered the transfer portal Monday afternoon.

Melendez was easily one of the most highly-touted recruits on paper in the Brad Underwood era. Coming out of high school at Central Pointe Christian in Florida, he had everything Illinois wanted and more.

But the talented 6-foot-6 wing never appeared to be happy during his time at Illinois. Dating back to his freshman year, there were times when the staff had to work extremely hard to keep him on campus. They did all the right things in showing him how important he was to the team.

Sources feel outside influences were always in Melendez's ear, suggesting there was more in him that Illinois was not getting.  He lost confidence in his shot this season, shooting 26 percent from three and 37 percent from the field overall.   Despite that, he played in 32 of 33 games.

It was Melendez's pure athletic ability that kept him on the court as he never stopped guarding on the defensive end. I fully expect RJ to have a nice list of schools to choose from. Where he lands will be very important; Underwood gave him a leash not many players would receive from their coach.

Follow me on Twitter @KedPrince4

email: PrinceKedric@yahoo.com

 

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