Originally posted on The Sports Bank  |  Last updated 5/4/12

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.

“With Meyers Leonard entering the NBA Draft, we looked to increase our front court depth,” Groce said.

“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.”

Paul M. Banks is CEO of The Sports Bank.net, an official Google News site generating millions of unique visitors. He’s also a regular contributor to Chicago Now, Walter Football.com, Yardbarker, and Fox Sports

A Fulbright scholar and MBA, Banks has appeared on live radio all over the world; and he’s a member of the Football Writers Association of America, U.S. Basketball Writers Association, and Society of Professional Journalists. The President of the United States follows him on Twitter (@Paul_M_BanksTSB) You should too.

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