Illinois Achieves Recruiting Momentum

A pair of in-state prospects from the Class of 2009 gave Bruce Weber's team the thumbs up Thursday morning.

D.J. Richardson was on the speakerphone in the library of Peoria Central high school announcing his pledge to Illinois Thursday morning. The 6-foot-3 guard from the Class of 2009 got the ball rolling on what is strong day for the Illini with members of the junior class.

"I think D.J. has clearly established himself as the top 2009 prospect in the state of Illinois," Chicago Hoops director Brian Stinnette told "Brandon Paul may be No. 2."

Richardson was all set to announce and came as no surprise as word was beginning to leak out Wednesday night about his pledge. Recently, the Illini hired Jerrance Howard, a former player and Peoria native, and its thought he's aided in speeding up Richardson's process.

After Richardson's pledge, the Illini achieved what we call "recruiting momentum" with the addition of Paul a few hours later. The Gurnee (Ill.) Warren Township product has a bright future ahead of him.

"He's just a kid and he's really young," coach Chuck Ramsey said. "He's still developing his basketball abilities to go along with his athletic ability. I think as he continues to get better and better that he'll be a big factor at Illinois."

Things happened in Champaign at a lightning quick pace. Two in-state prospects cast their lot with the Illini in a span of hours. Their pledges bring the number of underclassman commits to three as Bruce Weber and his staff own a promise from Jereme Richmond, a Top 5 prospect in the Class of 2010.

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