Brad Underwood found his likely replacement once Ayo Dosunmu inevitably moves on to the NBA. Andre Curbelo announced his commitment to the Illini on Friday via an Instagram Live. He ultimately chose Illinois over Miami, Kansas, Oregon, and St. Johns, amongst others. Curbelo is originally from Puerto Rico, but plays for Long Island Lutheran in New York.
The 6-foot point guard is a consensus top-60 recruit. He’s also rated as the ninth-best point guard in the nation according to 247 Sports. Curbelo is not necessarily an imposing athlete. He gets by on great basketball IQ as well as his ability to use change of pace and pump fakes to get what he wants on offense. According to Eric Bossi of Rivals, Curbelo is one of the best natural-born leaders in the 2020 class with his teammates feeding off of his infectious passion for the game.
Curbelo has already shown that he’s not afraid of big moments early in his career. He played for Puerto Rico’s 17U team for the World Cup last year. He also put up 23 points, 10 rebounds, and 5 steals in the championship of New York’s Federation Tournament of Champions, on his way to being named the tournament’s MVP.
This addition is a huge get for Brad Underwood. Current point guard Ayo Dosunmu is likely to declare for the NBA Draft after this season and the Illini needed someone to take over the reigns. While Dosunmu undoubtedly has more physical upside than Curbelo, Curbelo’s leadership and basketball smarts should make up for any physical traits he may be lacking.
A 247 Sports’ scout compared Curbelo to former North Carolina star, Kendall Marshall. Marshall went on to be drafted in the first round of the 2012 NBA Draft after recording the most assists in a season in Tar Heels’ history. If Curbelo can have a similar college career, Illini fans will be ecstatic.