One More to Watch in 2014

Illinois already has a solid class of 2014 with signees Michael Finke and Leron Black, but a late opportunity to land one more might mean a late and large addition to the 2014 class.

Originally from Mali, Sunrise Christian center Bakary Konate hasn't played a single high school game this year, however he's becoming one of the most heavily-recruited players left in the 2014 class.

Normally an athletic 6'11" 220 lb center wouldn't have made it past signing day, but the circumstances of Konate have teams looking to make a valuable late addition.

After spending 5 years in Gran Canaria, Spain Island, Konate made a big decision to come to the United States. He spent some time over the summer working out at Miami University, and now he's at Sunrise Christian in Wichita, Kansas, however he's sitting this year out to preserve his college eligibility.

Playing in Gran Canaria was great," he said. "I liked it but I preferred to play college hoops.

"I can't play this year," he said. "The NCAA eligibility rules say I can't play this year otherwise I might have to miss some games in college."

Konate has several division one programs interested. Schools such as Oregon, Ole Miss, Louisville, and Illinois have shown interest in the big man already, and several other division one programs have inquired about him.

"I have several universities interested in me," Konate said. "I took a visit to Minnesota on Tuesday."

Konate confirmed that Illinois is another program that has expressed interest in him, although he said he isn't sure whether or not he'll visit Illinois at this point.

Holding offers from Louisville, Minnesota, Texas A&M, and Oregon, and Oklahoma, Konate is sure to pick up several more. Konate's parents, friends, his brother Ibrahim, and his Sunrise coaches have been helping him through the process thus far.

Recently, Marquette stopped in to see Konate as well. Illinois is still in the early stages of evaluation on Konate, but make no mistake, they are keeping a close eye on him, and if the right situation presents itself, they could be in position to add some much-needed skill and athleticism in the post.

The process has moved rapidly for Konate, though. But despite the torrid pace of his recruitment, he is handling it well so far.

"I've never played here besides the Adidas Nations event, so it's a little crazy," he said. "But I'm blessed to be in this position."

Stay tuned here at IlliniPlaybook for the latest on Konate's recruitment.

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