Peyton Allen and Keita Bates-Diop are cornerstone players for the Illinois 15U AAU team. Both have played well in the spring and have received interest from colleges. The pair visited the Illini campus.
Allen is a class of 2014 prospect who has seen his stock steadily rise throughout the high school and AAU season, to where he is now being mentioned in the top group of prospects in Illinois for his class.
The Glenwood High School product has made several trips to Illinois, including Midnight Madness and games. He talked about how his latest visit to Champaign went.
"I watched the big men and guards do their workouts. They all went really hard, and the coaches got into it. It was fun seeing all the Illinois players I see on television there. I then watched them and Keita scrimmage."
What was he looking for on this particular visit?
"I wanted to meet the players and coaches I have been to the Ubben center before, but I wanted to meet the players and coaches mostly."
Allen traveled to campus with his father, brother and a friend, and they enjoyed themselves.
"It was great. I talked to all the players and all the coaches. They were all really nice. Hopefully I can go back soon."
In particular, the 6'-5" guard wanted to see and meet some of the members of the class of 2011.
The guard had a good discussion with head coach Bruce Weber.
"We talked to Coach Weber for quite awhile. He said hopefully I can get better with my concussion so I can play next time I get up there. We talked about the season and the players he has coming in mostly."
It would be fair to say Allen is a big fan of Champaign and the University of Illinois.
"I like all the players and coaches. I like the campus. I have been there many times now, and it is a really cool place."
Many schools are showing heavy interest in Allen as he continues to tear it up on the court. Three in particular are standing out to him.
"Illinois, Purdue and Iowa are my top three right now."
Allen has enjoyed playing with the Illinois Wolves this spring until he suffered his injury in St. Louis in the Battle for the Arch tournament.
"It has been pretty good We won our first tournament. In St Louis we lost the first game to a tough team, and then I suffered a concussion and couldn't play. Overall, it has been a great experience with the Wolves."
One of the noticeable changes in Allen since December has been added strength. He is continuing to get bigger and stronger.
"I am now at 185 to 190 pounds. I lift after school. I am trying to get stronger in my upper body and lower body. That is one of the points I need to work on is my strength, so I am working on that."
He is happy with how he has played thus far and is looking forward to getting more trophies as the spring and summer continues.
"I have done what I needed to do. I score a lot of points in the tournaments, and we have got wins. Hopefully we can continue to get more wins and championships."
Bates-Diop is a long and versatile forward for the Wolves. He plays his high school ball at Normal University High School. He talked about his experience at Illinois.
"It was fun. They did some individual stuff with the players that were there, which Peyton and I watched. Then we scrimmaged. I got to play against a lot of the Illinois players I had the chance to guard some of the top players. It was fun. I had a blast."
It was exciting for the freshman to play against players he has seen on television and read about for years.
The 6'-6" Bates-Diop learned what he needs to do to play at the Big 10 level.
"Seeing what it is like to play against guys that big, strong and fast. It made me see where I need to get to in order to play at a higher level."
He had the chance to talk with Weber about how he can do that.
"Yeah, he talked to me about what I need to do nutrition-wise."
The Illini have put themselves out in front of the pack in Bates-Diop's recruitment as the first team to be a major player in his recruitment.
"Illinois is the school most heavily recruiting me right now. Evansville came down a couple days ago."
He is enjoying playing with the Wolves.
"It's good. I enjoy playing with them. It is a great style of basketball, and the coaching is great."
The pair of prospects have bright futures ahead of them, and Illinois will be continuing to follow their progress throughout their high school careers.