Alex Illikainen isn't just coming out to California for an official visit to get away from January in Grand Rapids, Minn., though he'll admit, it certainly is an added perk.
"I'm packing my shorts," Illikainen laughed. "Anything above 30 or 40 degrees, I'm in shorts."
Illikainen – a 6-foot-8, 215-pound four-star forward – is the No. 15 power forward in the 2015 class, and will be the Bears' first official visit of the 2015 cycle. He has offers from Cal, Creighton, Iowa State, Minnesota, Nebraska, Northern Iowa and Oregon. This visit will be his first official, as well.
"It's going to be awesome. I can't wait," he said. "I've been talking with Coach (Gregg Gottlieb) and he's got a lot of stuff planned, with practice and the game and seeing San Francisco and Berkeley and all that kind of stuff. It's going to be a good weekend. I'm excited to see it."
Illikainen isn't dilly-dallying, either. He's leaving his house around 4:30 in the morning for a short connecting flight to Minneapolis, and then it's on to California for an 11:30 a.m. arrival. The visit could go a long way towards impacting his eventual decision.
"I just want to get out there because most of the schools I've been recruited by are more local – Midwest schools, besides Oregon – so it's going to be nice to get out and see a different part of the country, see how it's different, see how it compares and all that stuff," Illikainen said. "I'm excited to see something new.
"I talk to them a lot, and I'd like to think that it all depends on going out there and how I like it, because I haven't really talked to them, one-on-one, in person, that much. Coach Gottlieb has come up a couple times, and seen me in the summer, but I just want to meet everybody in person and see what they've got to offer. That's kind of a big thing for me to see for myself."
Illikainen said that Berkeley was the last school he's interested in that he has yet to visit, which means a decision may not be that far off.
"This is one of the last schools that I've seen that's offered, actually, it pretty much is the last school, so after this, it's kind of just comparing and seeing what I like best," he said. "We'll narrow it down a little bit, and after I see this, I make a final decision."
Illikainen may pay a repeat visit to Oregon, since his last trip was quite some time ago on an unofficial.
"I might go again, just to refresh my memory," Illikainen said.
As far as exactly when a decision could come?
"It all depends," he said. "When I know, I know. I'm not going to hesitate on it."
2015 PF is Packing Shorts for OV
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