'13 guard James pick Illinois
Class of 2013 point guard Jalen James committed to Illinois on Wednesday.
James, a 6-4 point guard from Hope Academy in Chicago, was offered by Illinois after its team camp in Champaign on Wednesday. James discussed the offer with Illinois Wolves club coach Mike Mullins, his brother and father and committed an hour and a half later.
"I called [Illinois assistant] coach Jerrance [Howard] and told him it was a done deal," James said. "He was in the office and started screaming his lungs out.
"I really didn't have a second or third favorite [at this point.] I was waiting for an offer from them. I committed because of the players they're going to have, coach [Bruce] Weber, coach [Howard], and, most importantly, my family will be able to come to see me play and not have to travel too far."
James' stock improved with his play during the spring club season with the Wolves. He is now considered one of the state's top Class of 2013 prospects.
"I think he has a great frame," Mullins said. "He's a bigger point guard. He's still growing and filling out his body. He has a good feel for the game. He's not a point guard who has to learn the position when he gets to college. He has a great burst in the open court. He's a willing defender. He's a good rebounder for his position."
James will carry on the tradition of Wolves point guards going onto Illinois. The list includes Demetri McCamey, who is expected to be selected in Thursday's NBA draft, senior Sam Maniscalco and freshman Tracy Abrams.
"From Demetri to Sammy to Tracy to Jalen, we could have a 9-10 year run here," Mullins said. "It's a credit to the kids more than us. It's fun being able to see them and follow them being the state school. We have a lot of respect for coach Weber."
James is Illinois’' first Class of 2013 recruit.