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Recruiting: Illinois Basketball Brings in Aaron Jordan, Another Sharpshooting Wing

Aaron Jordan is a shooter and will be another perimeter weapon for the Illinois Fighting Illini. What else can he do for John Groce?

Mike Granse-USA TODAY Sports

Illinois has produced more than just a few talented college players over the years. Now the question is how do you fix a struggling program? One way to help answer that question is to focus locally and convince talented in-state players to stay home. Groce's most recent recruiting class, according to some, is a positive indication of where he's taking the program. Two Illinois kids and a guy from Indianapolis make up his 2015 recruiting class, showing that Groce has made progress when it comes to recruiting local talent. Clearly Groce is making an impression on local talent and if he can continue to convince top in-state talent, the program will be on the rise. It appears as though that's finally starting to happen.

With Jalen Coleman on board, Groce signed another Illinois sharpshooter in Aaron Jordan. Jordan is a 6'4", 170 pound shooting guard from Plainfield, Illinois (Plainfield East High School) that was rated as a four-star recruit per ESPN. The in-state prospect had offers from four other Big Ten schools with Indiana, Purdue, Northwestern and Wisconsin all offering the recruit.  It says something that Groce convinced him to stay home and was a big get for Illinois as Groce has struck out with several marquee recruits as of late.

Scouting Report
Shooters will always find their way to the floor unless they're complete defensive liabilities. Jordan can certainly shoot, that's evident right away. He'll spot up for catch-and-shoots and can also hit threes off the dribble. More dangerously, he'll find space in transition and take pull up threes. Although he seems fearless, his shot selection does not appear to be suspect.

Defenses can't forget where he is on the floor because he'll float without the ball and be available for kick out threes as he has a good sense for where to move on the floor. His game starts at the three-point line, but it doesn't end there. Jordan can take the ball off the dribble and shows creativity when driving.  He's such a great shooter off the dribble that he can pull up, but he will take it to the rim if available.

One particular video showed him playing on an injured foot/ankle during the Summer Challenge 2013. Very clearly hobbled, he gutted out what looked like a good performance and didn't just stand on the three point line. Jordan took the ball to the hoop and crashed the glass aggressively, showing no signs of the injury negatively effecting him, hinting at his toughness and resiliency.

Areas for Improvement
While Jordan can drive, I didn't see him moving to his left with much purpose in his high school footage. Defenses will have to play tight, but they'll also force him left if he's not as prolific moving in that direction. Jordan has a great skill, so working on that aspect of his game will just take time.

Strength, as with almost every freshman, is an area to improve, though he'll likely get stronger as he grows into his frame and matures at Illinois. Adding size will help him beat physical perimeter defenders off the dribble, especially as they'll undoubtedly be right up on him. Strength will make him even more dangerous offensively. Once he gets stronger, he should become more confident as a rebounder and perhaps more aggressive defensively.

Outlook
Defense is the key factor for Jordan. If he can guard, he'll play. How much he'll play is the question because he'll also need to get stronger. We know he can shoot, help space the floor and be effective hitting transition threes. Talent-wise, there's no doubt about Aaron Jordan. He has an elite skill and just needs to build on that. Illinois is going to be dangerous on the perimeter with Coleman, Jordan and D.J. Williams. Whether it's this year or next, the 2015 class should have Groce doing a lot of fist pumping.