Late Monday night, the Illinois Fighting Illini got some big news, as it learned that 2017 prospect Matic Vesel would be joining the team’s roster heading into next season. He becomes the program’s fifth commitment in its 2017 recruiting class.
COMMITMENT! 2017 Slovenian big man Matic Vesel has committed to #Illini Basketball. (via @DPiperScout) https://t.co/vl03GoM9hu— The Champaign Room (@Champaign_Room) June 13, 2017
Vesel comes out of Slovenia and, as a result, has a pretty low profile. He did play on the U20 Slovenian national team, but is largely an unknown from a recruiting rankings perspective. He averaged 7.7 points and 8.7 rebounds in the U18 FIBA games.
Like Illinois’ pickup of Greg Eboigbodin earlier this month, Vesel is going to be a question mark. It’s unlikely he will contribute right away and, most realistically, his impact will be more for the team’s depth than its top rotation. But that’s almost unavoidable when a program is adding freshmen this late in the process.
The good news, however, is that Vesel adds another option for new head coach Brad Underwood for the depth chart heading into next season. With Vesel in the fold, Illinois now only has two open scholarships, which is a stark improvement from the four open scholarships that the Illini had just a few weeks ago. Even if Vesel can’t make a huge impact in year one, he should at least help build the team’s depth.
Illinois and new head coach Brad Underwood still have a lot of work to do before next season, but the program got better on Monday night with a key commitment. Fans will now have to wait to see if any further additions are made.