Former Wright State guard Mark Alstork announced Wednesday he will play his senior season at Illinois.
The Dayton native and Thurgood Marshall graduate chose the Illini over Pittsburgh, South Carolina and LSU.
“The fans there were just remarkable to me and made me feel at home from Day 1,” Alstork told 93.5 FM in Champaign, Ill. “The coaching staff made me feel very comfortable, never nervous or weird. They have a plan for me, and it seems like a good plan, so I just want to bring a championship to Illinois.”
Alstork also visited Dayton, Georgetown and Louisville after Wright State granted him a release from his scholarship with one year of eligibility remaining. As a graduate transfer, Alstork will be eligible to play for the Illini this season.
Illinois will be under the direction of first-year coach Brad Underwood, who led Oklahoma State to the NCAA Tournament in 2016 and took Stephen F. Austin to back-to-back tournaments in 2014 and 2015.
“I just thought his mind for basketball was remarkable, his IQ, his level of thinking, his mindset,” Alstork said of Underwood. “And then just taking basketball from it, him as a person and what he stood for, you couldn’t ask for anything better.”
Alstork began his college career at Ball State before transferring after his freshman season to Wright State, where he scored 1,042 points in two seasons with the Raiders.
He averaged 19.0 points, 4.7 rebounds and 3.4 assists last year while earning first-team All-Horizon League honors.
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Alstork said Illinois was one of the last visits he scheduled, and he only did so after having a conversation with former WSU teammate Mike La Tulip, who took the opposite route in going from the Illini to the Raiders as a graduate student last season.
“I had one visit left and was deciding between (Illinois) and a couple of other schools, but Mike told me the people, the environment, everything is remarkable,” Alstork said. “The only reason he left is because he wasn’t going to get the opportunity to actually get on the floor. He told me ‘That’s not going to be like that for you. You’re going to get the best of both worlds. You should at least try it out.’ ”
After not being heavily recruited out of high school, Alstork said the last six weeks have been incredible with so many big-name programs trying to lure him in for his final season.
“It was remarkable this time around,” he said. “My phone didn’t stop ringing. I just feel blessed to be in this situation. It was amazing. I met some remarkable people, and it was one of the hardest decisions I’ve ever had to make. But I’m happy with my decision.”