Kendrick Nunn and his 16 and Under Meanstreets team recently competed at the D-1 AAU Event at York High School. Illinois head coach Bruce Weber and assistant coach Jerrance Howard monitored his play closely. Nunn proved worthy and was extended a scholarship offer.
Nunn shared his conversation with Weber after the tournament.
"He said I am welcome to come to Illinois. He likes the way I play and thinks I can help the program out a lot."
Nunn was excited about the offer.
"I was happy because Illinois is a local school, and they have a good program."
The rising junior has always been a deadly three point shooter with great athleticism, and he is continuing to expand his game. He proved to coaches and scouts alike he is making strides in his passing and ball handling.
"Those are the traits that I have been working on most. Being a point guard, you have to be able to dribble, pass, and get the ball to your teammates. At camps and workouts, those are the aspects I work on most."
Illinois wanted to see these traits improve in Nunn's game, and he stepped up to the challenge. Did he see Weber and Howard at his games?
"I noticed they were watching me, but I just kept playing my game."
He has a good relationship with the coaching staff, which is important for Nunn.
"Coach Weber is a good guy. He motivates his players and wants them to get better. I also have a good relationship with Jerrance. He is real cool. We get along real well, and we joke around a lot."
Nunn has been on campus before. He likes what he has seen of the University.
"I have been down there for the team camp. I got to see the facility and get to know the coaching staff. I like the facilities a lot, and the practice gym is nice."
Nunn appreciates the Illini's emphasis on players from his home city.
"They mainly focus on Chicago guys and make sure they get better getting them to come down to Illinois by building relationships."
What would it mean to lock down the state and bring the best Chicago talent in 2013 to Champaign?
"It would be indescribable to have all the Chicago guys down there. It would be the Fab 5 again all over at Illinois."
That would be quite a sight to see! Nunn is by no means a lock for Illinois, as high majors across the country have already extended offers.
"Memphis, Ohio, Texas A&M, Florida State, Arizona, DePaul, and Illinois."
Syracuse and Xavier are also in the mix. There has been a perception that Memphis, one of the first schools to offer Nunn, is the leader. According to the Simeon star, that is incorrect.
"I really don't have a leader. I just take them as they come."
He is expected to make his decision prior to the start of his senior year. Nunn has a criteria for what the perfect school must have.
"The relationship with the coaches and how that school would fit me into making me a better player. The education is important as well, as the facilities and campus."
Nunn was one of four players from the state of Illinois on the USA 16 and Under national team that won a gold medal.
"The USA experience was down in Cancun, Mexico. We played a bunch of different teams that have various styles of basketball. They are more physical.
We came out with the gold. It was a great experience. It really hasn't hit me yet that I won a gold medal. Hopefully it will hit me later on, and I can take it all in."
Now that he has a gold medal, the next major goal is his third consecutive state title at Simeon. The Wolverines have more fire power than ever, and with a national schedule, more than just a state title may be in reach.
"We are going to keep working hard. We have Jaylon Tate coming in to help us out. We are going to try to win a state championship and hopefully a national championship."
Nunn has a big-time game and is a national level recruit. He will be one of the top targets for Howard and the Illini over the next two years. Adding Nunn to point guard commitment Jalen James could be the foundation for a special class in 2013.