While he won't be eligible to play for another year, Kipper Nichols has joined the Illini.
A Class of 2015 recruit, Nichols picked Tulane but stayed just a short while and was released from his scholarship, choosing to play at Illinois earlier this year. Nichols arrived in Champaign on Monday and has practiced the past couple days with the Illini.
“Boy, are we glad to have him now and have our entire team," head coach John Groce said Tuesday. "He’s really a great student, a great person and offers just a lot of versatility as a player with his size, his strength, his body. He’s got a man’s body at 18, 19 years old. He’s very versatile, versatile both offensively and defensively. He can guard multiple positions defensively, he can play multiple positions offensively. Guys like that, they always offer a tremendous value to their team. But the thing that’s impressed me the last two days is just how well he’s fit in. Knew he was a great kid, but I think he fits right in line with the character we have in our locker room and with our team this year. I know he’s awful excited to be here, so we’re awful glad to welcome him.”
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Nichols is a 6-foot-6 small forward and was a three-star prospect out of Lakewood, Ohio. Per NCAA rules, he will sit out the next two semesters following his departure from Tulane and will be eligible around this time next year. He will then three and a half years of eligibility remaining.
“He’s versatile at both ends of the floor, for sure. He’s a guy that can score, pass, dribble, defend, has good hands, he can think," Groce said. "He comes from a winning program, played for great high school and AAU programs. ... Won a state championship, he knows what winning looks like. Just has really good feel for the game, can really think the game.”