Ibrahima Djimde is a 6'-9" power forward from Huntington Prep in West Virginia. The big man recently came on the Illinois radar as a player that fits the description of an inside banger with size and tenacity.
Djimde lives with assistant coach T.J. Hawkins, who discussed his visit and where his recruitment stands. Coach Hawkins says his senior enjoyed himself.
"He said he liked it a lot. He likes Coach Bruce Weber and Coach Jerrance Howard. He liked playing with the team. They have very good players. He enjoyed it quite a bit."
What was he looking for on the visit?
"To see the big school feel and meet the coaches and players. He also wanted to see how the state of Illinois was. He had never been to Illinois before and wanted to see the whole experience of the school."
Hawkins discussed how the Illinois involvement came about.
"It is a new relationship. When one of their kids declared for the draft, that opened up a scholarship. They were looking for another big, tough, physical inside guy. They came out and saw Ibby. He is a guy that has been on a lot of peoples' radars lately. He has blown up as the season went along, and people started to hear about him. When they saw him, they fell in love with him."
Howard traveled to see Djimde play and thought he fit what they were looking for to close out the 2011 class.
"Jerrance came out to see him and was immediately impressed. He said he is the type of guy Coach Weber was looking for. They have built a good relationship over the last couple of weeks. Ibby went out there and enjoyed Coach Howard a lot."
They were so impressed they offered him a scholarship.
"Coach Howard and Coach Weber offered him. They told him he was just what they were looking for as a blue-collar hard-nosed worker that gets better every day. After he played with the team, they were impressed with him. They said he could have played at the school this year because he is a big, tough kid."
What was Djimde's reaction to the Big 10 offer?
"He was excited about it. He said he liked the school. To pick up an offer from a great university like Illinois, of course he is going to be excited."
His recruitment will come down to Illinois and Old Dominion, a school he will visit in the upcoming week.
"He is going to go on one more visit to get a smaller school feel. This is his second year in the states, so he hasn't really seen a lot of different schools. He just wants to get a feel for the difference and then will make a decision after that."
What will be the most important factor in his decision between the two schools?
"I think it is just the feel for him. He wants to be somewhere comfortable because he is still learning English. He understands it pretty well. It is sometimes hard for him to express what he wants to say. He is getting better at it everyday. It is the feel for him as far as the team."
Hawkins discussed how Djimde played this past season, when he averaged a double-double.
"He had a really good high school season. We were ranked top 20 in the country in most polls. He was our starting big man. We have a great team. We have a 7'-4" kid that comes off the bench behind him.
Ibby played center for us. He gave us an inside presence scoring and was a tenacious rebounder. He played really well for us. He is a strong kid that keeps getting better every day. Last year he was on nobody's radar, but he kept working on his game. He had a pretty good summer where he got better and better."
He believes Djimde can play either power forward or center at the next level, but the Illini like him at the four.
"He is more of a power forward. He can guard the four and five. He can move like a four and step out. He is about 6-‘9" so he can play both spots, but Coach Howard said they like him as a power forward."
The Illini should know with in the next couple weeks if Djimde will be joining them next season.