Illinois on Kendrick Nunn's list

Updated: August 3, 2012, 4:54 PM ET
By Scott Powers | ESPNChicago.com

Simeon senior guard Kendrick Nunn, an ESPN 100 recruit, released Friday a list of five schools he is considering attending -- in alphabetical order, they are: Illinois, Marquette, Memphis, Ohio State and UCLA.

Nunn, a 6-foot-2 shooting guard, is ranked No. 54 in the ESPN 100. He's considered the state of Illinois' second-best senior behind to his high school teammate Jabari Parker, who is the nation's top-ranked player. Nunn averaged 15 points for Simeon last season and helped it to its third consecutive state championship. He also helped Team USA win gold in the FIBA U17 World Championship this summer.

Nunn's father, Melvin, went through the five schools his son is considering and explained why each made the list.

The elder Nunn said the relationship with first-year Illinois coach John Groce while he was coaching at Ohio was vital to the Illini now recruiting his son.

"They didn't have a chance of recruiting Ken at Ohio," Melvin said. "We loved the coaching staff at Ohio, but they weren't a bigger school. Since they moved onto a bigger school, a bigger spotlight, that's how we got interested in Illinois now more than when Coach [Bruce] Weber was there. We have a good relationship with Coach Groce."

For Marquette, Nunn is a fan of coach Buzz Williams and his style.

"The relationship we have with Buzz is platinum," Melvin said. "[Kendrick] loves the way Buzz coaches and gives attention to his players. I think he fell in love with Marquette the game we attended. He likes the way Buzz coaches. They're in a great place to continue to win. Coming from a winning program like Simeon, you want to keep that going."

Nunn also enjoyed watching Memphis play, his father said.

"He likes Memphis," Melvin said. "He likes the atmosphere. He likes the way they get up and down the court, kind of like Marquette's style of play. They've always kept in-tuned on recruiting with Kendrick."

As for Ohio State, the Buckeyes came in on Nunn late, but he always has been a fan.

"For some reason, we didn't hear from them for 18 months," Melvin said. "I guess they liked the way they performed. They were trying to find a way to love him. Kendrick always had interest in Ohio State. He was just going to let his game do the talking. He got a call from them and [the Buckeyes] offered. He loves Ohio State, and he won't get into, 'Where were you guys two years ago?' They got in before it's too late."

UCLA's tradition was a key reason for the Bruins making the list.

"UCLA was a powerhouse before all the schools," Melvin said. "They have a winning tradition whether they fell off one year or not. UCLA will always be UCLA. They got things really in a good place now. The one thing we know, if he decides on UCLA, they're going to treat him right because another Simeon guy, Lazeric Jones, was there."

Melvin said his son planned to make official visits to all five schools and possibly host a few in-home visits. The family also plans to cut the list to three at some point and sign during the early signing period in November.

Melvin said the school that wins out will have to impress them in a number of areas.

"The readiness to win is going to be one of them," Melvin said. "No. 2, floor time. We don't want to go there to sit. We can't do much for a program sitting. Relationships are important, too. We want to be comfortable. Also, style of place is important. I think he's more effective when he's in a wide-open offense.

"I'm a firm believer, if you're there, stay there. For me to say that, we have to make sure he's at the right place. Once he makes that decision, this is your spot."

Scott Powers is a general reporter for ESPNChicago.com. He is an award-winning journalist and has been reporting on preps, colleges and pros for publications throughout the Midwest since 1997.