Illinois has put together what is looking to be the best class of John Groce’s tenure in Champaign. The Fighting Illini already have one of the best classes in the country, and they are hoping to add to it. Here is a look at where their commitments and targets stack up in the updated Scout.com top 100.
Of the Illini’s four commitments clearly the most hyped is five-star prospect Jeremiah Tilmon. Tilmon didn’t play at all this summer so the evaluation on Tilmon didn’t change. Even though an effort wasn’t made to keep Tilmon exactly in the same spot, just the same general area, he did stay steady at No. 19.
Tilmon is a potentially elite combination of athleticism, shot blocking, and rebounding. Add in a solid set of hands and a pretty nice touch, and the tools are also there for him to be a good offensive player. All of that makes him one of the best prospects in the class.
The newest commitment for the Illini is Trent Frazier, and he is also the second most highly ranked. Frazier checks in at No. 78, which technically is down four spots, but in the back quarter of the rankings four spots is extremely negligible one way or the other.
Frazier is a high level scorer from the point guard spot. It is possible he could play off the ball, but his lack of size and length makes that a bit of a stretch. Also Frazier is a good shooter and a solid passer, though not always a willing passer. Frazier is a bit raw, but he has a ton of talent, and someone we believed in as a top 100 player.
Just outside the top 100 is DaMonte Williams. Williams did play better in July, but he didn’t do quite enough to get into the top 100. He is definitely more shooting guard than point guard, though he can be a bit of a combo. If he has a high level senior season it is possible that Williams could make a jump into the top 100 since his natural talent level suggests that he should be there.
The final commitment for Illinois is Javon Pickett. Nothing really changed with the evaluation of Pickett. He isn’t someone who was given consideration for the top 100. He is viewed as a solid role player at the high-major level, but not someone who would be given top 100 consideration.
Illinois would still like to add one or two more players into the class.
The top two priorities for a while for Illinois have been Kris Wilkes and Paul Scruggs. Wilkes fell from 17 to 18, but there was absolutely no change in his evaluation. He is still seen as a likely NBA small forward who has a good career at the highest level.
Scruggs went up a few spots from No. 37 to No. 31. Within the top 40, going up six spots is actually a fairly sizable jump. Scruggs showed a better feel for the game throughout July, and limited his turnovers more. He is moving to being a true combo guard as opposed to a shooting guard, and that has put him right on the cusp of five-star status.
Also Illinois is looking at a few other interior options to complement Tilmon. One player that is on the radar is Jacob Epperson. Epperson is now ranked as the No. 58 player in the class. Epperson is someone who is very skilled and can really pass and run the floor. The upside with him is big as he continues to add strength.
Also Mayan Kiir was upgraded to four-star status. Kiir had a very solid showing at adidas nations as well as during the entire month which led to his bump from three-star to four-star, though still outside of the top 100. We liked Kiir’s skill level and ability to be a matchup problem.
Illinois is looking for one of their top classes in a long time, and they are off to a great start. Obviously they are looking to keep the momentum going by landing a few more of the quality targets on their list.