Coleman-Lands selects Illini
Illinois Head Coach John Groce has been looking for a key win on the recruiting trail, and on Tuesday he got just that when four-star shooting guard Jalen Coleman-Lands picked the Big Ten school. The decision came only a day after Coleman completed his official visit to Illinois. For a while it looked like Coleman-Lands was bound to end up at Notre Dame, but the two parties went their separate ways last week. That really opened things up for Illinois and UNLV, and at the end of the day a combination of the Illini coaching staff and style of play led to Coleman-Lands picking the Illini. “I’ve been knowing the coaching staff ever since I was in eighth grade, so I felt comfortable with the coaching staff,” said Coleman-Lands. “Also I was able to see how I fit in their system, and that really helped out.” He continued, “I know they are going to work with me on the court with how they set different screens, and how I can space the floor. They walked me through a few things, and also I got to see the campus and the school. Every question I had, they answered.” Added Coleman-Lands father, Piankhi Lands, "The coaches are all really good people. Coach Groce has great character and is real positive and energetic. He wants to see kids succeed in basketball and in life." One of the biggest factors for Coleman-Lands was the way Illinois stayed loyal to him throughout the recruiting process. He said that was big in building a strong comfort level for him in making his decision. “It shows loyalty,” said Coleman-Lands of how long Illinois recruited him. “It strengthens your relationship with the head coach, and I knew that. They kept in contact with me, and most importantly respected me. I didn’t want to be bombarded by coaches calling all the time, and Coach Groce respected that, and it shows he respected me. I feel like the way they recruited me showed loyalty and respect.” Lands echoed his son's sentiment, "They have always been respectful. They always let Jalen be a kid still and enjoy playing basketball, and at the same time letting him know they were interested. Also they had patience with me given how my job can be it takes time to get back with coaches, and they were always patient and did things the right way. Just the way they did it was a class act." While there is no doubt that Coleman-Lands is good on the court, and this is a big commitment for Illinois, La Lumiere Head Coach Shane Heirman says it is just as big because of what Coleman-Lands brings off the court. “Jalen is a coach’s dream,” said Heirman. “From day one at La Lumiere he fully immersed himself into this community and has had a major impact on and off the court. He is a special talent, but even a more special person. I have no doubt he will have a major impact at the University of Illinois.” In fact, for Coleman-Lands' father, the academic component was just as important to him as the basketball. "We met with one of the academic consultants, and the way he embraced Jalen’s interest in business and how they operate the business school it is perfect," said Lands. "The way he broke down the possibilities that he will have in cutting edge technologies, it was just phenomenal. It is amazing the things they have invented at Illinois, and they have one of the top business schools in the country." This is a huge win for Illinois on the recruiting trail as Coleman-Lands checks in as the No. 8 shooting guard and the No. 35 player overall in the class of 2015. Also he is one of the premier shooters in the class, and his shot making should put him on the court immediately during his freshman season. Also by committing Coleman-Lands becomes the third member of a very strong Illinois class. Coleman-Lands is joined by fellow four-star prospects Aaron Jordan and D.J. Williams.
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