Illinois has once again lost out on a major recruit out of Chicago. Jalen Brunson chose Villanova over Illinois yesterday at a ceremony held at Stevenson High School. Overall this seems to have been a very hard decision for Jalen with rumblings that a job offer for his father might have swayed his decision towards Villanova. All is fair in war and recruiting though and at some point John Groce and Illinois has to find a way to close the deal with in state recruits. This is now the third straight year that John Groce has whiffed on the top player in Illinois (Chicago).
Unlike last year that found Illinois without many options once Cliff Alexander chose Kansas, they are still in the mix for many highly rated players. John Groce was already back to work seconds after the Brunson decision, watching Carlton Bragg in Ohio. He has a meeting with another 5 star point guard Jawan Evans in Texas today. Illinois also has many official visits still on the horizon, with Jalen Coleman, Elijah Thomas and Doral Moore set to visit. That is a lot of talent that they are still in the running for, and if added to a class along with DJ Williams and Aaron Jordan, would rank among the nation's best.
Currently Illinois in great shape with many of the players mentioned above. Below is brief overview of where Illinois stands with each player.
Bragg is a 5 star PF out of Ohio and is considered a consensus top 10 player in the 2015 class. Illinois was in a recently as last night to see the Bragg in Ohio. John Groce and his staff have an in home visit set for September 30th. Illinois is currently listed in Carlton's top five along with UCLA, Arizona, Kentucky and Kansas.
Jawan is a 5 star PG out of Texas and is currently ranked in the top 30 on all services. Groce has a visit set for today with Jawan Evans in Dallas. Evans was in Champaign last weekend for an official visit and from all reports, it went very well. Illinois is currently listed in Evan's top four along with USC, Texas and Oklahoma State.
Elijah is a 5 star Center out of Texas and is a consensus top 20 player. September 19th Elijah will be in Champaign for an official visit. Thomas is very high on Illinois and could be further swayed with a commitment from Jawan Evans. Illinois is currently listed in Thomas' final five along with SMU, LSU, Texas A&M and Oklahoma State.
Doral is a top 50 four star Center out of Georgia. September 26th Doral will be in Champaign for an official visit. Moore is considered Kentucky's to lose at this point, but with Kentucky still pursuing higher rated centers, Illinois could be a back up for Moore if he is overlooked by Kentucky. Illinois is currently listed in Moore's final five along with Ohio State, Wake Forest, Florida and Kentucky.
Jalen Coleman is a 4 star CG out of Indiana and is a consensus top 30 player. Jalen will visit Champaign on September 26th joining Doral Moore on an official visit. Illinois is currently listed in Coleman's final six along with Indiana, Michigan, Notre Dame, UNLV and NC State.