2015 Rankings Breakdown: Illinois

For the first time since the end of the summer the class of 2015 rankings were updated. As would be expected there was a lot of movement up and down. Here is a look at what happened with Illinois targets.

The Illini and John Groce have been focused on getting the best in the state of Illinois since he got the job, and already two of the premier prospects have been locked down in small forward D.J. Williams and shooting guard Aaron Jordan.

Coming into the season Williams was given a lofty ranking based mostly on how high his upside was, and this year Williams has played to those expectations, and because of that his ranking went basically unchanged and is No. 36. The leap of faith in Williams' raw talent following the summer has paid off as he has improved his ball handling, shooting, and gotten tougher and more assertive on the court.

Jordan also stayed in the same range in the top 100, but not in the top 75 quite yet. The question with Jordan is still how diverse is his game, and will he show himself to be able to score in more ways than just shooting from deep. A solid athlete with length, Jordan presents a problem for defenses, we just want to see him continue to improve and if he does, a bump in the rankings following the spring is definitely not out of the question.

With two of the best wings in the state locked in, Illinois is really focused on a point guard, and the top two on their board seem to be Jalen Brunson and Jawun Evans. Brunson fell a few spots in the rankings, but stayed mostly in the same spot. With Brunson he is the same kid we felt coming in the season with a high IQ, great feel for the game, and the ability to make shots, just he is limited athletically and with size.

Evans actually went up a few spots, and it is his speed with the basketball and ability to push the pace that make him so intriguing. He has battled injuries and that has limited him some, and there are some questions surrounding his decision making, but still Evans can do so many different things with the ball that his potential is impossible to overlook.

On the interior the Illini are firmly in the mix with five-star Elijah Thomas. Thomas dropped one spot to No. 12 overall, but still clearly he is a five-star prospect and somebody who shouldn't be overlooked at all given his elite skill level and ability to score on the low block.

Already with a good start to the class, Illinois feels they can swing for the fences with a few other top targets regardless of position. Carlton Bragg, Jalen Coleman, and Charles Matthews would be three of those players.

Bragg and Matthews both stayed as five-stars with virtually no change in their ranking, though Coleman did rise eight spots to No. 25 overall. Coleman, who Illinois likes a lot, has improved his ball handling and decision making while also excelling as a shooter both from the mid-range and deep, making him one of the more dynamic shooting guards in the class.

Overall Illinois is off to a good start, and they are looking to close strong with some key in-state targets as well as national prospects.


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