Rakocevic Talks Illinois Visit

Forward Nick Rakocevic is emerging as one of the better in-state talents in the 2016 class.

CHAMPAIGN - All of the recent recruiting activity and visits to college campuses doesn't have Nick Rakocevic feeling too highly about himself.

It's the opposite, actually. The high level recruiting attention paid to the 6-foot-9, 190-pound 2016 forward from Westchester, Ill. (St. Joseph) has generated appreciation and motivation.

"I'm just blessed," he said. "I thank God every day for the opportunities he's given me, and I try to just keep working hard every day and get my shot better, get my dribbling and ball handling skills better and just be the best player I can be."

Rakocevic visited Illinois for Saturday's game against Ohio State.

"The crowd was electric," he said. "I like all the fans, and I think that my game would fit in well with Illinois."

The Illini didn't get the win, but Rakocevic came away impressed with the atmosphere at State Farm Center. He also had plenty of good things to say about head coach John Groce.

"I like the way Coach Groce coaches, he's a great coach," he said. "I like the energy he brings. He likes the fact that all the bigs shoot, come off the dribble, and I think thats what he sees in my game. They haven't offered me yet, but it would mean a lot. Illinois is my state school, so it would mean a lot."

Rakocevic said he liked the way the Illinois forwards were used, shooting 3s to stretch the floor and holding the option to use the dribble.

"I think that's what my game is," he said.

He's been hearing from the Illini for a few months now. The home-state school isn't the only one increasing the communication.

Creighton, Miami and Northern Illinois have already offered. He says he's also hearing from Marquette, Northwestern, Iowa, South Florida and others. And he's been active, himself, juggling his school work and high school games with visits to Notre Dame, Purdue, Miami and Wisconsin — all since early January. Trips to Oregon and Indiana are also in the works.

For now, he's gathering as much information and weighing all options. He's seeing as much as he can and going far and wide. But, he says, expect Illinois to be a contender until the end.

"I'm a humble kid," he said. "I just love playing basketball, and it would be great to play for my state school."

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