From 'Pat' to 'Cat'

The top point guard in the 2015 class is off the board after making the call Wednesday afternoon. Here's a closer look at just what the in-state prospect's commitment means.

John Groce had been targeting the point guard position since his arrival in Champaign. His system centers around the point guard position, and he knows the importance of having a dependable floor general leading the way for his team.

But unfortunately for Illinois fans, that search continues. Jalen Brunson, who arguably has the best basketball IQ of any point guard in the nation, chose to continue his basketball career at Villanova on Wednesday.

Brunson personifies the role of a floor general and is one of the most technically-sound players in the class. Brunson had only visited Illinois and Villanova, but despite having several other visits scheduled, Brunson, who was looking for "that feeling" on his visits, found it at Villanova, despite a stellar visit to Illinois and decided to continue his college career in the Philadelphia-based university.

Illinois still conducted a visit with the nation's #3 ranked point guard in Jawun Evans, but with Brunson now off the board, Evans becomes far more important for the Illinois staff.

Still looking for his cornerstone at point guard, Groce still continues to work on an already stellar class made up of two in-state commits in D.J. Williams and Aaron Jordan. The next likely targets are big men Elijah Thomas and Doral Moore with Carlton Bragg also in the picture down the road. If things don't pan out with Evans, one other possible target is current 2016 PG target and Canadian PG Jamal Murray.

It's difficult to quantify the importance of getting a point guard commitment for the Illini as the floor general is targeted to be the cornerstone of a program that is building a squad capable of a run for both Big Ten titles and NCAA tournament runs.

Illinois fans are feeling the sting of this one, having finished presumably second yet again for the third point guard in as many years (Demetrius Jackson, Quentin Snider, and now Brunson). Hope is still out for Evans, but it appears his recruitment may not end in the immediate future.

Check back very soon on IlliniPlaybook for more on Brunson's decision.


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