This is the first year in awhile the Illinois team camp will not feature any players currently committed to the program. This makes for even more excitement as a player can have a huge day in front of the coaching staff and earn a scholarship offer.
For those who have never been to the team camp before, there will be four games going on simultaneously at three different venues. One game will be played at the Assembly Hall. Another game will be held at the ARC, and two will be played at the Ubben basketball complex. It is easy move from one venue to another if desired.
In recent years, Illini fans have had a good turnout for the team camp as they come out in the summer to support Illinois recruiting prospects. they get an up-close look at the prospects they have been hearing about in a relaxed setting.
It is also a big day for the coaching staff as they are hosting multiple key recruits on campus for the next three recruiting classes.
Who are the highlight recruits at this year's camp? It all starts with Hope Academy point guard Jalen James. This will be the first chance many Illini fans will have to see the rising junior, and the staff will be evaluating him closely. He is an explosive point guard in transition who has vaulted into the top five of the class of 2013.
Whitney Young will bring its talented team to Champaign minus 2014 center Jahlil Okafor, who is playing with the USA 16 and Under team. Center Tommy Hamilton and forward Paul White are two prospects high on Illini radar and both have offers. It is another great opportunity for the staff to get these two key prospects on campus.
Cahokia will bring a young and exciting team to the camp and feature athletic 2014 guard Darius Austin. He has exploded on the scene with the Southwest Jets AAY team this spring. Austin is a big physical combo guard who can score and dish. He will be taking an unofficial visit during the day as well. The Illini staff likes Austin quite a bit.
Peyton Allen of Chatham Glenwood continued to get better throughout his high school season and played great with the 15 and Under Illinois Wolves early in the spring before suffering a concussion that held him out for a month.
Allen is a smooth combo guard who scores with ease at all three levels and has very good vision. He is one of the top Illini targets in 2014.
DeJuan Marrero will be making another appearance in Champaign. He seems to have been on the Illinois campus more than any prospect in recent memory. He is a tough forward who scores on the interior and is continuing to improve his perimeter game.
"Rico" is the one of only two 2012 prospects who have an Illini offer. He is expected to make his decision in August or September, and the Illini are toward the top of his list.
Zion-Benton brought its team down several years ago when the Illini were recruiting Lenzelle Smith. They are back with 2014 wing Milik Yarbrough. He is a strong and athletic force who can put the ball in the hoop. Illinois has already stepped up with an offer.
A couple of intriguing big men who will be on campus are 2013 Chicago Leo prospect Russell Woods and 2014 Benet Academy center Sean O'Mara. Woods has emerged as an athletic post with major upside this spring with the Mac Irvin Fire AAU program.
O'Mara is a prospect that many are excited to see because he played only limited minutes for Benet last year behind Frank Kaminsky. He has the size to play at a high major level, and this will be a good test for him.
Three prospects attending the camp have taken recent visits to Champaign: Nate Taphorn (Pekin, 2013), Keita Bates-Diop (U-High, 2014), and Marlon Johnson (Joliet West, 2012). Other prospects of note include Dominique Matthews (St. Rita, 2014), Vic Law (St. Rita, 2014), and Jeff White (Peoria Manual, 2012).
Below is the schedule of games for the day.
Ubben 1: Orr vs Pekin
Ubben 2: Galesburg vs Hope
Assemby Hall: Glenwood vs St. Rita
ARC: Monmouth vs Normal U-High
Ubben 1: Cahokia vs Joliet West
Ubben 2: Leo vs Gary Bowman
Assembly Hall: Whitney Young vs Peoria Manual
Arc: Benet vs Zion-Benton
Ubben 1: Glenwood vs Orr
Ubben 2: Normal U-High vs Galesburg
Assembly Hall: Pekin vs St. Rita
Arc: Hope vs Monmouth
Ubben 1: Whitney Young vs Cahokia
Ubben 2: Benet vs Bowman
Assembly Hall: Leo vs Zion-Benton
Arc: Joliet West vs Manual
Ubben 1: Orr vs St. Rita
Ubben 2: Pekin vs Glenwood
Assembly Hall: Hope vs U-High
Arc: Monmouth vs Galesburg
Ubben 1: Whitney Young vs Joliet West
Ubben 2: Benet vs Leo
Assembly Hall: Cahokia vs Manual
Arc: Zion-Benton vs Bowman
Ubben 1: Galesburg vs St. Rita
Ubben 2: Pekin vs Hope
Assembly Hall: Monmouth vs Orr
Arc: Glenwood vs U-High
Ubben 1: Whitney Young vs Zion-Benton
Ubben 2: Leo vs Manual
Assembly Hall: Joliet West vs Benet
Arc: Bowman vs Cahokia