Point guard Justin Robinson received his offer from the Illini staff on Wednesday. He's originally from Manassas, Virginia and goes to school in Maryland, so he's a player many in the Midwest are probably just hearing about.
The past month has seen Robinson's recruitment on the rise. He picked up offers from Virginia Tech, Maryland and most recently the Illini.
Here's what Scout national analyst Evan Daniels said last week:
"The player who stood out to me the most in March is 6-foot-1 Saint James (Md.) School standout Justin Robinson. He caught my eye in December and he further confirmed my thought that was a high major prospect at the Metro Challenge two weeks ago.
Unfortunately, college coaches may not get to evaluate him during the live period because of a severe ankle injury he suffered this week. Robinson, who will play with Boo Williams, is a true lead guard with impressive vision and passing. He's also a more than capable shot maker from three."
If it's true what Daniels says (and why would we doubt him?!), it's easy to see why the Illini are interested. A point guard with passing and vision and 3-point range is something John Groce can work with. It's a shame the young man is injured, especially just before his best opportunity to raise awareness about his game and perhaps along with it his offer list and ranking.
In the end though, that could be a good thing for Illinois.
So what does the offer mean?
A) The Illini staff likes Robinson. Dustin Ford is the lead recruiter in this case and Groce felt comfortable enough with the evaluation to make the call for an offer.
B) Jalen Brunson and Jawun Evans have long since been considered the top targets for Illinois with 2015 point guards. Brunson's recruitment is turning into an arms race and Evans is living in Texas by way of South Carolina. While both are interested in Illinois, they're not sure bets to end up there.
C) Brunson would give Groce exactly what he needs at the one, but Kansas, Michigan and Michigan State are heavily involved now, too. Bill Self visited Brunson on Wednesday. And Michigan is a team the Brunson family is really high on.
D) Evans could be involved in a package deal with Texas big man Elijah Thomas, another top Illini target. Groce took a visit to see both on Wednesday.
E) The interesting name here is Nick Noskowiak. The 2015 Wisconsin lead guard de-committed from Marquette and is being recruited by all kinds of schools. Illinois offered in early April and recently visited with him. While it's not yet clear if he's in the top target realm with Brunson and Evans, it's becoming obvious Groce likes the kid a lot.
F) If the top two targets decide to go elsewhere, Robinson could be the guy the Illini staff turns to. Other names to watch: In-state guards Hyron Edwards and Glynn Watson. Those two have a long standing relationship with Groce and are players the staff has seen many, many times. A good spring could push them further into the discussion as players the coaches and fans would be absolutely thrilled to add. For now, it appears it's Brunson, Evans and then everybody else. I see the newest offer less an indictment that Brunson and Evans are likely bound elsewhere and more about liking Robinson. Nothing has changed at the top, while Illinois is casting a wider net to make sure there are options if need be.