Max Bielfeldt is a 6'-6" post man who has put up prolific numbers at Peoria Notre Dame High School. He has offers from many mid-major schools but is considering taking an alternative option to play for Illinois.
Rumblings have been going on for awhile about whether there was interest in bringing "Mad Max" into Illinois as a preferred walk-on and whether he would consider such an option. Bielfeldt talked about the situation at the Tournament of Champions.
"They want me to be a preferred walk-on. They have told me I will probably have a scholarship if I go there my sophomore year if I red shirt. So that is a possibility."
With Bielfeldt receiving scholarship offers from other schools, is joining the Illini without a scholarship at the beginning of his career an option he is seriously considering?
"I am not saying no to it. It is always a possibility. My whole family has connections to Illinois. It is definitely a possibility."
Currently Bielfeldt holds offers from Wright State, Ball State, Western Michigan, and the University of Illinois-Chicago. He is also hearing from Ivy League schools.
"I have got Dartmouth, Penn, and Brown all recruiting me real hard."
At this point Bielfeldt does not have a favorite, but several factors will play an important role in the school he eventually chooses.
"The chemistry with teammates and coaches is always really big. I have to like the campus and just know it is the right place for me."
What will the team he eventually chooses be getting? Bielfeldt is a tireless worker and tremendous rebounder at the high school level. He has a nice post game and brings toughness when he scores. The big man positions himself well and creates space to score. He talked about the versatility in his game.
"I like to stay in the post, but when I play against guys like (Torren) Jones I can go out and make them guard me. I can do a little bit of both."
The State Farm Tournament of Champions annually features future NBA stars and McDonald's All-Americans. Bielfeldt was given an honor none of those players received. Tournament Director Shawn Powell awarded Bielfeldt as the best player to ever play in the Tournament of Champions.
He certainly deserved this honor as he has dominated the event over the years including a then tournament record 40 points against McCluer from St. Louis. Max led his team throughout the tournament with outstanding production in points, rebounds, blocks, and most importantly wins. He says this event brings out the best in him and his team.
"This event is always great. It is the first tournament of the year. Winning this tournament is huge for us."
Time will tell if Bielfeldt will take a preferred walk-on spot at Illinois, but he will make one school very happy when he chooses his collegiate destination.