Pruitt's Commitment Is Significant

Shaun Pruitt's agony ended on Tuesday. The power forward had a difficult time choosing between the Illini and Spartans. In the end, his commitment was big news for Bruce Weber.

On Tuesday afternoon, No. 67 prospect in America, Shaun Pruitt, announced his intention to sign with Illinois over Michigan State. His commitment is not just another Top 100 guy for the Illini; it's the start of new era in Champaign.

Pruitt's decision to enlist with Bruce Weber's Illinois team marks the first prospect to commit to the new staff since the coaching change. Not only does it carry significance for that reason, but it's a statement to everyone trying to come into Illinois and recruit.

The Pruitt commitment sends the message that the Illini intend to protect their turf.

"Few people know that I was leaning toward Illinois in March when the head coach came to my regional final game," Pruitt said in a statement. "I had one of my career best games and afterwards he told me that I would definitely fit into his plans. But I felt I had to reconsider things and look closer at other programs after the coaching change.

"Coach McClain staying at Illinois had a lot to do with helping to continue the connection I had with the previous staff through to the new staff. Also coach McClain really made a difference in helping my dad and me understand what to expect if I chose to become an Illini."

And picking the Illini over Michigan State was a huge win for the program. "I feel I made the best decision for me and I'm happy to be staying to play for my home state school. I'm looking forward to working hard with coach Weber and his staff and working my way in with all the great players at Illinois."

Speaking of great players in Illinois, you can bet that everyone around the program hopes that the Pruitt commitment blazes a trail for Shaun Livingston. The nation's top point guard is No. 1 on the hitlist and visits the team in October.

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