It's official: Sam McLaurin joins Illinois

John Supinie

CHAMPAIGN -- The paperwork and admissions are complete. Forward Sam McLaurin's transfer from Coastal Carolina to Illinois is official.

He will enter Illinois as a graduate student, and the two-time academic all-Big South selection will help fill a void on the front line. He is eligible immediately with one year remaining in his career.

"Sam is a bright young man who has achieved at a high level on the court as well as in the classroom,'' Illinois coach John Groce said in a statement released by the university. "With Meyers Leonard entering the NBA draft, we looked to increase our front-court depth. Sam fills that need, and by earning his degree, he will have the opportunity to contribute immediately.

"He rebounds, 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.''

The 6-foot-8, 230-pound McLaurin started all 31 games for the Chanticleers last season while averaging 10 points, 7.5 rebounds and 1.2 blocked shots. He shot 65 percent from the field and 52 percent from the free-throw line.

He holds the Coastal Carolina career record with 155 blocked shots. The Havana, Fla., native set career highs with 20 points in a loss to Old Dominion in March and 16 rebounds in over win over LSU in November.

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