Welcome to “Good Morning, Illini Nation,” your each day dose of faculty basketball information from Illini beat author and AP High 25 voter Scott Richey. He’ll provide up insights each morning on Brad Underwood’s group:
By the point you learn this, faculty basketball coaches throughout the nation could have had not less than six hours to contact Class of 2023 recruits straight. It is June 15! Recruiting these rising juniors takes on a distinct stage. Totally different, not new. Loads of these 2023 prospects are deep into their recruitments.
So is Illinois. Brad Underwood and Co. have provided 30 recruits within the ’23 class. Solely two are off the board, with twins Matthew and Ryan Bewley choosing the skilled route as the primary two gamers to signal with the Time beyond regulation Elite League. However let’s break down the remainder of the remaining affords slightly extra …
As a result of particular person rankings fluctuate from service to service — the choices from Rivals to 247Sports to ESPN are not often according to one another — let’s use the 247Sports Composite to find out the best ranked prospect on Illinois’ 2023 board.
The present chief? 5-star ahead Kwame Evans Jr., who ranks No. 5 within the class. Illinois has truly provided six of the highest 10 recruits within the class, together with No. 2 Matthew Bewley, No. 6 Omaha Biliew, No. 7 JJ Taylor, No. 8 Simeon Wilcher and No. 9 Baye Fall.
Evans is a Baltimore native and really had his provide earlier than Underwood added Chester Frazier (additionally a Baltimore native) to his teaching workers. Like loads of high prospects, after all, Evans is on the transfer for his junior season. He’ll play in 2021-22 at nationwide powerhouse Montverde Academy (Fla.) after beginning his highschool profession at Baltimore Polytechnic Institute aka “BPI” or “Poly.”
Evans, a 6-foot-8, 190-pound wing, did not play in 2020-21, as Baltimore Metropolis public faculties canceled the season due to COVID-19. He began as a freshman for the Engineers and averaged 9.1 factors, 4.8 rebounds, 3.1 assists and two blocks in 2019-20 earlier than that season was lower brief due to the pandemic.
In-state recruit to look at
Illinois has provided six in-state recruits within the Class of 2023, together with Whitney Younger level guard Dalen Davis and Bolingbrook ahead Donaven Youthful. The Illini had been additionally the primary provide for Bradley-Bourbonnais middle Owen Freeman, who has added affords from Iowa, Butler, Wake Forest, Purdue and Ohio State this month.
The highest in-state goal, although, is Taylor, who’s one in all three Kenwood standouts with an Illinois provide together with level guard Darrin Ames and ahead Davius Loury. Taylor ought to be a consensus five-star recruit as soon as Rivals releases its 2023 rankings given he has that standing from each 247Sports and ESPN. The 6-8, 185-pound wing averaged 28.3 factors, 7.2 rebounds, 3.7 assists, 2.5 steals and 1.5 blocks in 2020-21.
There is not any telling what Illinois’ positional wants can be when its time to start out signing the Class of 2023 given the transitory nature of faculty basketball rosters with freebie one-time transfers now allowed. The combination proper now appears to be equal elements bigs, wings and lead guards:
- PG/CG — 11
- SG/SF — 8
- PF/C — 9
Many of the affords out within the Class of 2023 got here when Illinois’ teaching workers included assistants Orlando Antigua, Chin Coleman and Stephen Gentry. So a pair targets from the Tri-state space should not be a shock, however total it is a “attempt to recruit nationally” unfold that goes out west for guards like Chuck Bailey III (Higley, Ariz.) and Kylan Boswell (Corona, Calif.), east like Wilcher (Plainfield, N.J.) and Brandon Gardner (Columbia, S.C.) and smack dab in the course of the nation for lots extra.
Illinois’ Class of 2023 recruiting board additionally options gamers with worldwide ties. That features a pair of massive males taking part in in Colorado however initially from Senegal in Fall and Assane Diop and a Congo native taking part in in Kentucky in Cyr Malonga.
Whereas Illinois’ 2023 board is heavy on affords from earlier than the workers adjustments, Chester Frazier has added to it, too. His efforts have the Illini pursuing a four-star guard out of Florida in Marvel Allen and one other from powerhouse Oak Hill Academy (Va.) in Caleb Foster and an unranked guard from close by in St. Joseph-Ogden’s Ty Pence.