One day there’s bad news, the next day there’s good news.
That motto seems to be the trend of Brad Underwood’s first offseason as Head Coach of the University of Illinois men’s basketball program.
Tuesday afternoon, Coach Underwood and his staff received a positive message.
Gregory Eboigbodin, a 6-foot-9 forward from Detroit, pledged his commitment to the Orange and Blue.
The fourth member of the 2017 Illinois recruiting class, along with Mark Smith, Trent Frazier, and Da’Monte Williams, Eboigbodin is the 440th ranked prospect in the country according to 247, and 8th best prep player in the state of Michigan.
Originally committed to Illinois-Chicago, Eboigbodin also held an offer from Pittsburgh and hailed interest from Boston College and Georgia Tech. Although he’s not a high-profile recruit like former Illini signee Jeremiah Tilmon, there are some positives with the addition of Eboigbodin to the Fighting Illini roster.
Eboigbodin played high school ball at University of Detroit Jesuit High School in Detroit, Michigan. At U of D, Eboigbodin was teammates with current Michigan State guard Cassius Winston. In Eboigbodin’s junior and Winston’s senior year, the duo helped their school capture their first boy’s basketball state championship in program history.
In addition to being teammates with Winston on their high school team, the two competed on the same AAU team, The Family, along with Michigan State star Miles Bridges. As a senior, Eboigbodin averaged a double-double with 14 points, 14 rebounds along with two blocks per game.
Contending with and against Big Ten level competition is nothing new for Eboigbodin.
His Game and How He Fits
Could Eboigbodin serve as a replacement for Tilmon? Maybe, probably, but we don’t know that for sure.
Eboigbodin and Tilmon are very similar physically, but, their abilities on the court are far more different from one another. At 6-foot-9, Eboigbodin possesses an imposing 7-foot-3 wingspan. Talented or raw, a wingspan like that will force a coach to give a player some opportunities.
Reading multiple articles and scouting reports, the thing college coaches like about Eboigbodin is his versatility and motor.
Brad Underwood has a knack for recruiting guys who may not be the most talented coming into his program, but give 110% every play, and understand their role in helping their team win games.
Eboigbodin is work in progress. Physically, he’s not the strongest guy on the floor, and there are a ways to go to classify him as a threat on the offensive end. But, for the time being, what Brad Underwood needs on his team is bodies.
Including Eboigbodin, there are only three players listed over 6-foot-7 on the Illinois roster next year. Having a guy like Eboigbodin on the bench who may not be the most gifted talent wise, but plays hard and gets after it on both sides of the ball, will provide returning big men Leron Black and Michael Finke a little bit more time on the bench during must needed breaks or foul trouble.
While Eboigbodin may not see a tremendous amount of minutes his freshman year in Champaign, there is potential there for him to become an impactful player for the Illini in the next couple years.