Illinois center announces decision to enter NCAA transfer portal
Illinois is losing a reserve center to the NCAA transfer portal.
Omar Payne, a reserve center who transferred to Illinois from Florida, has announced that he will be on the move again. He made his announcement with a post on Twitter. He spent just one year in Champaign.
“I would like to start by saying thank you to my coaches, Fletch, teammates and all the fans. Over the past year here at Illinois I’ve grown a ton,” Payne wrote. “But with that being said I’ll be entering my name into the transfer portal and exploring my options. I look forward to my next chapter and opportunity.”
— Omar Payne (@Ogomarpayne) April 2, 2022
During his 32 appearances at Illinois this season, Payne averaged 1.8 points and 1.7 rebounds. He scored a season-high 8 points in a January win over Nebraska. He helped the Illini capture a B1G regular season championship, finishing with a 15-5 mark in league play.
Payne spent two years at Florida before transferring to Illinois. The 6-foot-10 center played in 54 games with the Gators and made 15 starts. He averaged 3.8 points and 3.4 rebounds per contest while at UF.
Payne joins Illinois guard Andre Curbelo, who also recently entered his name into the transfer portal. Curbelo was at Illinois for two seasons and played a critical role on both ends for the Illini.
Payne will still have two years of eligibility to use at his next destination.