Big Ten

Illini announce transfer of Simeon alum D.J. Williams as offseason roster evolution continues

The evolution of Illinois' roster ahead of Brad Underwood's first season in Champaign continued Monday.

The team announced junior-to-be D.J. Williams will be transferring away from the program.

"After meeting with D.J., we came to the decision that a fresh start is in his best interest," Underwood said in the announcement.

Williams, a Chicago native and Simeon High School product, was ranked by Rivals as a three-star recruit in the Class of 2015. But he didn't log many minutes in his first two collegiate seasons under John Groce, averaging 11 minutes a game as a freshman and an even lower 8.8 minutes a game this past season as a sophomore.

Williams only appeared in five of the Fighting Illini's 19 games against Big Ten opponents this past season.

By the time all is said and done — and with four open scholarships, you'd have to figure there are more additions coming — the Illinois roster will look much different when the team plays for the first time under Underwood than it did when Groce was fired after the Illini's exit from the Big Ten Tournament in early March.

Jaylon Tate, Tracy Abrams, Malcolm Hill, Maverick Morgan and Mike Thorne Jr. all wrapped up their collegiate careers this past season. And the once-ballyhooed recruiting class Groce put together was halved when Jeremiah Tilmon and Javon Pickett asked out of their National Letters of Intent following the coaching change. Plus, high-profile transfers Charlie Moore and Carlton Bragg Jr. opted to play elsewhere after reportedly considering the Illini.

Underwood, though, was able to sign Illinois' Mr. Basketball, Mark Smith, once more boosting an incoming class that also features four-star guards Trent Frazier and Da'Monte Williams.

He'll add those incoming freshmen to a returning core of Kipper Nichols, Te'Jon Lucas, Jalen Coleman-Lands, Leron Black, Aaron Jordan and Michael Finke.

Plus there's likely more to come.