Brad Underwood added some much-needed experience and firepower to his first Illinois roster with the commitment Wright State graduate transfer Mark Alstork on Wednesday afternoon.
"They made me very comfortable with the situation they had. A chance to be a part of something special and continue to become a better player and a better person," Alstork told IlliniInquirer.com. "It's a great feeling. I feel like I made the right choice. And I can't wait to be a Fighting Illini."
Alstork said Underwood and the staff were thrilled when he told them he was on board.
"They were ecstatic. I don't think they knew they were really going to get me," Alstork said. "They said that we're going to get this thing moving."
The 6-foot-5 wing, who averaged 19.0 points per game last season for the Raiders last season, chose the Illini over LSU, South Carolina and Pittsburgh. He has one year of eligibility remaining and will be able to play immediately due to the NCAA graduate transfer rule.
The Illini really impressed Alstork with their presentation and sell during the official visit in Champaign. Underwood's offensive mind and knack for developing players also really stood out.
"I think it's huge. I can't wait to use all the resources that he has to push me to get better and play at an even higher level," Alstork said. "(Underwood) understood my ability. He understood my IQ for the game and my work ethic, and he showed that he knew how to use me. I took it all in consideration and I liked what he said."
The Illini's three top scorers from last season -- Malcolm Hill (17.2 points), Maverick Morgan (9.9) and Tracy Abrams (8.6 points) -- graduated, and whether the team's fifth-leading scorer Jalen Coleman-Lands will return to Illinois remains in question.
Alstork shot 40.0 percent from the field last season as a junior, including 38.7 percent from three. He also shot 84.7 percent from the free-throw line and averaged 4.7 rebounds and 3.5 assists. As a sophomore, he averaged 12.4 points, 4.7 rebounds and 1.7 assists.
Despite the addition of Alstork, the Illini currently have a minimum of three scholarships available for the 2017-18 season. They will need to add more pieces this offseason.
And while Alstork wants to develop his game and resume for the next level, he was very clear about his intentions in Champaign.
"I didn't pick this school to be a loser. I'm not coming here to be a league-leading scorer on a bad team," Alstork said. "I'm coming here to win at the highest level and get to that NCAA tournament."
Projected Illini depth chart
|F-||Leron Black||Kipper Nichols|
|G-||Mark Alstork||Aaron Jordan|
|G-||Mark Smith||Jalen Coleman-Lands (?)||Da'Monte Williams|
|G-||Te'Jon Lucas||Trent Frazier|
Jeremy Werner contributed to this story.