10 in-state targets for new Illinois coach
March, 26, 2012
By Scott Powers | ESPNChicago.com
Scott Powers/ESPNChicago.comJabari Parker liked Bruce Weber, and it will be important for the next Illini coach to keep that bond.Now that John Groce is set to take over at Illinois, he'll be hitting the recruiting trail soon after the move becomes official with the April recruiting period being opened again.
Outside of reaffirming the commitments of Belleville East guard Malcolm Hill and LaLumiere guard Jalen James, two of the state's top junior prospects, here's a look at the top-10 Illinois products Groce will have to target.
1. Simeon junior forward Jabari Parker
Reason: Parker, a 6-8 forward, is the No. 1 player in the Class of 2013. He can change a program even if he's only there for one year. Former Illinois coach Bruce Weber had a relationship with the family. Everyone in the country is recruiting him, so it won't be easy.
2. Whitney Young sophomore center Jahlil Okafor
Reason: Okafor, a 6-11 center, may just be the best player in the Class of 2014 when it's all said and done. He's the best big man to come out of the state since Eddy Curry. He's also likely a one-and-done player. He's ranked No. 2 in the country and is also being sought by nearly ever top school.
3. Curie sophomore center Cliff Alexander
Reason: Alexander, who is a 6-9 center, isn't as developed as Okafor right now, but he's getting there. He's had some dominating performances in his young career. He's ranked No. 11 in the country. Michigan State coach Tom Izzo has been seen at a good portion of Alexander's games and could be the coach to beat out.
4. Whitney Young junior center Tommy Hamilton Jr.
Reason: Hamilton's stock dropped a bit after sitting out a majority of his junior season with a leg injury, but he's still going to be a high-major recruit. He's 6-9 and can go inside or outside. Illinois has been on him for awhile.
5. Zion-Benton sophomore forward Milik Yarbrough
Reason: Yarbrough, a 6-6 forward, doesn't have the national reputation of the four players ahead of him, but he'll get there, too. He's a big-time scorer, can handle the ball, pass and rebound. The family was also high on Weber. He holds an offer from Illinois.
6. Whitney Young sophomore forward Paul White
Reason: White is 6-8 small forward who possesses a number of skills. He even played point guard for his high school team this season. He's ranked No. 19 in the country. Illinois has been on him since his freshman season.
7. Proviso East junior forward Sterling Brown
Reason: If you didn't know who Jabari Parker was, you would have thought Brown, a 6-4 wing, was the best player on the floor when Proviso East and Simeon met in the state championship. Brown scored 25 points and was scoring from everywhere. Illinois has offered him. DePaul and Northwestern are also interested in him.
8. De La Salle junior Gavin Schilling
Reason: Schilling, a 6-9 forward, has become a big-time recruit since returning to the Chicago area after spending his sophomore year in Germany. Coaches loves his size and effort. Illinois was recruiting him hard under Weber.
9. Simeon junior guard Kendrick Nunn
Scott Powers for ESPNChicago.comKendrick Nunn is a 6-2 shooting guard who previously committed to Texas A&M.
Reason: Nunn, a 6-2 shooting guard, can score with the best of them. He was previously committed to Texas A&M. He's ranked No. 57 in the country.
10. Springfield Lanphier sophomore guard Larry Austin
Reason: Austin showed at the state tournament why he's already piqued a lot of high-major interest. Austin can get to the basket and is crafty around the rim.
Others to consider: Cahokia sophomore guard Darius Austin, St. Joseph sophomore forward Paul Turner, Benet sophomore center Sean O'Mara, Marian Catholic sophomore guard Tyler Ulis, De La Salle junior Alvin Ellis, St. Rita freshman guard Charles Mathews
TOP 25 SCOREBOARD
Final Washington State 45 Colorado State 48 Final 20 Fresno State 20 25 USC 45 Final Buffalo 24 San Diego State 49 Final Tulane 21 Louisiana-Lafayette 24
Final Pittsburgh 30 Bowling Green 27 Final Utah State 21 23 Northern Illinois 14
Final Marshall 31 Maryland 20 Final Syracuse 21 Minnesota 17 Final Brigham Young 16 Washington 31
Final Rutgers 16 Notre Dame 29 Final Cincinnati 17 North Carolina 39 Final Miami (FL) 9 18 Louisville 36 Final Michigan 14 Kansas State 31
Final Middle Tennessee 6 Navy 24 Final Ole Miss 25 Georgia Tech 17 Final 10 Oregon 30 Texas 7 Final 14 Arizona State 23 Texas Tech 37
Final Arizona 42 Boston College 19 Final Virginia Tech 12 17 UCLA 42 Final Rice 7 Mississippi State 44 Final 24 Duke 48 21 Texas A&M 52
Final Nebraska 24 22 Georgia 19 Final UNLV 14 North Texas 36 Final Iowa 14 16 LSU 21 Final 19 Wisconsin 24 9 South Carolina 34 Final 5 Stanford 20 4 Michigan State 24 Final 15 UCF 52 6 Baylor 42
Final 13 Oklahoma State 31 8 Missouri 41 Final 12 Clemson 40 7 Ohio State 35