National Signing Week is upon us, and it is time to take stock of the country. Here is a look at what went right, what went wrong, and what is still left to do for teams. This edition focuses on the Illinois Fighting Illini.
What went right?
This is a solid, albeit tenuous class for John Groce and his staff. The Illini have two very solid commitments from four-star prospects, and a three-star wing. Two of those three prospects are in-state kids.
Leading the way is Trent Frazier out of Florida. Frazier is a big time scorer from the point guard position, and is someone who should provide a lot of stability at the guard spot. He can handle and has tremendous burst, but his ability to score is what separates him from so many others.
Next to Frazier is four-star combo guard DaMonte Williams. Williams is a big time talent who has the ability to play either guard spot, but might be best off the ball. He is a very good athlete with good size and versatility, and has major upside if he can put it all together.
Also there is Javon Pickett. Pickett is an in-state wing who can score. He might need some before he is ready to enter the rotation, but his shot making and mid-range game are both very solid.
What went wrong?
This biggest thing that went wrong, still has the chance to go right. Jeremiah Tilmon made the late decision to not sign with Illinois, though he hasn’t officially de-committed from the school either. How the top 20 prospect moves forward will be interesting, but there is no doubt that Illinois wanted his letter of intent in, and that doesn’t appear to be coming.
Also at several points during the process it looked as though Jordan Goodwin was on the verge of committing to the Illini, but in the end he held off and eventually decided he wanted to stay close to home and picked St. Louis.
The most recent miss that hurt was five-star Kris Wilkes. Wilkes had Illinois in his final three until the end, and while he hasn’t announced yet, he will make his decision public on Sunday and has privately already eliminated the Illini.
What is left to do?
Illinois has a solid crew coming in, but the uncertainty surrounding Tilmon makes things far more tenuous than they thought it would be a week ago. Already wanting to add another big late to this class, Tilmon potentially not signing makes adding size in the spring even more important.
Look for the Illini to target kids during the season, and then take a look at potential fifth year transfer options or kids that get out of their Letter of Intent following a coaching change, because the staff would like to add to this class.