I was doing OK.
I was coming to terms with there being no sports, and at this point I’m used to it. I was never going to like it or be happy that they aren’t on, but I was used to it.
This sense of normalcy and acceptance washed away Thursday morning when I woke up and realized it was supposed to be opening day for Major League Baseball.
I wrote about it before, but I’ll say it again, the Chicago White Sox are back. They finally made the moves, and this was supposed to be the year when they were relevant.
And, yes, all that can still happen because at some point they will start the season. But for 11 straight years I have watched the White Sox play terrible baseball, and March 26, 2020, was going to be the day that all went away. Just in case you need me to hammer my point in anymore, that 11 years means the White Sox have played 1,782 regular-season games since the last postseason game.
The White Sox being good is not the only sad thing about no opening day.
Opening day is one of the best sports days of the year. It is really the one day where you’re guaranteed good pitching match ups in almost ever game. As long as they’re healthy almost every teams ace is on the mound. It also just means baseball is back, which normally means good weather is either already arrived or is right around the corner. And who needs good weather if we’re not playing baseball right?
I need baseball back, and I need it now. I was begging for sports news, and although the White Sox could not provide any, Illini basketball did.
Alan Griffin did what?
Unfortunately that news the Illini basketball team provided was bad news. Alan Griffin entered the transfer portal on Tuesday afternoon.
Now to most people that may have come as a surprise. To me, I was not completely shocked. There were some rumblings on social media about Griffin’s personal life on Monday night. Once I saw that I started to think it was possible, and the next day he announced he was leaving.
Tevian Jones also entered the transfer portal on Wednesday. This loss is not nearly as significant as Griffin. Jones did not see the floor much, but there was hope. I still hope Jones can be successful, although it won’t be here at Illinois.
So now what? Obviously there are some transfers who could come in, but let’s focus on the guys who are on the roster. Despite both players leaving, the Illini only have one scholarship open. So even if there are transfers interested, there is not a ton of help on the way.
The two biggest pieces to fill the void are Austin Hutcherson and Jacob Gradison. Both of them sat out last year after transferring in from other schools.
Hutcherson is a transfer from Division III school Wesleyan University. Hutcherson will be a junior. He averaged 20 points, six rebounds and three assists a game. With being 6 foot 6 and a 39 percent three-point shooter, Hutcherson should find playing time immediately.
Grandison is a transfer from Holy Cross. Just like Hutcherson he will have two years remaining. Grandsion averaged 13 points, 5 rebounds and two assists a game as a sophomore. His experience as a Division 1 player will also be a welcome sight. He shot 36 percent from three while starting all 33 games.
In my mind these two guys can fill the void left by Griffin and Jones. Hutcherson will probably have a similar role to Griffin, and I think Grandison will be much more effective than Jones.
If Ayo Dosunmo declares for the NBA draft, then prepare for a melt down column the following week. Until then my hand is not near the panic button.
You can contact Ryan Birch at Rbirch@RantoulPress or on Twitter @RyanBirchRP