USA Today // Marvin Gentry

LA Tech transfer Merrill Holden considering Illini visit

Illini are in pursuit of LA Tech forward Merrill Holden as a transfer option.

The Illini scholarship situation is still up in the air for next season, but Louisiana Tech forward Merrill Holden has been a target of interest as a grad transfer with immediate eligibility.

Holden averaged 8.1 points and five rebounds per game as a junior last season. He started 16 games last year after missing the first month of the season with a hand injury.

Illinois joined a handful of programs that showed interest last week, along with Alabama, Auburn, Cincinnati, Central Florida and UNLV. Holden is scheduled to visit Auburn next weekend. He originally planned to take a visit to Cincinnati on Wednesday, but he decided to reschedule.

The Illini are still working on their pursuit, and they are in contention for a visit. Holden told that he talked to head coach John Groce on Wednesday.

"I've been talking to Coach Groce and Coach (Jamall) Walker consistently," Holden said. "I am still thinking about visiting them."

The 6-foot-8 power forward is athletic, he runs the floor, rebounds and finishes strong at the rim. Holden is a native of Chicago, who attended Lincoln High School (Neb.) and then went to Pratt Community College (Kan.) for a year.

"Merrill is a great kid, hard worker, very athletic at his size and a capable shooter," Lincoln High School head coach Dan Noble said. "He is very humble and intelligent."

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