MINNEAPOLIS (WCIA) — The road back to his home state has been a long journey for Illinois forward Dain Dainja. From a standout Top 100 player nationally out of Brooklyn Park, a suburb just outside Minneapolis, to Baylor and now at Illinois, Dainja is making his first appearance as a college player in Minnesota Monday, with the Illini facing the Gophers.

“Very exciting, the whole family is here and everybody is really excited to see Dain out there playing,” Dainja’s mother LaTasha Kilgore said. “You know he’s really excited, all his friends are on the other team so Dain’s really excited.”

About 20 of Dainja’s family and friends planned to attend the game. It follows one of his best games in college, a 20-point performance to lead Illinois to a win over Michigan State last Friday.

“All my family is going to be at the game,” Dainja said. “I know most of the guys on the Gophers’ team. It’s next game now. They beat Ohio State so we’ve got to be ready for them.”