- Scott Powers, ESPN Staff Writer
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Champaign Centennial (Ill.) junior power forward Michael Finke committed to Illinois on Wednesday.
Finke, who is 6-foot-9 and 190 pounds, also had offers from Iowa, Kansas State, Purdue, Wisconsin, among other schools. He is ranked the 16th power forward in the Class of 2014 by ESPN.
Finke acknowledged Illinois' 11-0 start to the start to the season and No. 10 ranking under first-year coach John Groce played a role in his early decision.
"It just felt right," Finke said after making a visit to Illinois on Wednesday. "After watching them and seeing how great they're playing and seeing myself going beyond the arc and down low for them in their system, I know I'll fit. Coach Groce has been doing a great job. I've been talking to them for a while. I know they care about me. I know I can contribute."
Being a hometown product, Finke admitted to feeling pressure to attend Illinois, but he said his decision was made on what was best for him.
"There's a lot of people who told me to go there because I'm the local kid," Finke said. "In the end, I wasn't going to make a decision based on that. People thought I was going to Illinois when they offered me. Honestly, my decision was wide open. I was looking at every school. I was looking for the best position and fit in the end."
Finke's game has progressed in the past year to where he's become a more versatile forward and is a factor inside and out. That's evident by the number of scholarship offers that have come his way in the past year. He had one offer last April and had 15 to choose from when he committed on Wednesday.
Finke believes his inside-out game fit Groce's system similar to current Illini senior Tyler Griffey, who has averaged a career-best 9.3 points, which has included 1.5 3-pointers a game.
ESPN senior national recruiting analyst Dave Telep believes Finke provides the Illini with another quality piece to their puzzle.
"Think about this, Wisconsin tried to recruit this kid," Telep said. "You don't come into Champaign if he's not perfect for your system. That's all you need to know about Michael Finke and his talent level. I think it's a real strong commitment and a guy that's going to be a primary player for them down the road."
Finke is Illinois' first Class of 2014 commitment.