John Groce and the Illinois basketball staff have pursued four-star point guard Xavier Simpson longer than any of the other main programs in the mix.
However, Simpson has yet to make his way to Champaign or officially announce plans to do so. He has already taken an official visit to Iowa State on Aug. 7, and he has one set up to Miami on Sept. 11--as reported by Scout.com's Brian Snow on Monday. The Hurricanes offered Simpson a scholarship less than a month ago and they have already booked the trip.
On the other hand, Simpson has had an Illini offer since January but he has not returned the favor with a visit. The talented playmaker was originally planning to take an unofficial visit to Illinois in June, until his busy schedule nullified the plans. This month, the Illini have been working hard to secure an official visit. Quincey Simpson (Xavier's father) has been rather coy about Illinois' position in that process.
According to a source, he told the Illini staff multiple times that they are coming to Champaign at the end of the month. But in his remarks to the media, Quincey Simpson hasn't been nearly as clear. In Monday's story, he said that Illinois and Indiana "seem to be looking good on visits". On Wednesday, Quincey Simpson gave IlliniInquirer.com a more encouraging answer about a possible trip to campus.
"Right now, we're planned to go at the end of this month," he said.
A few weeks ago, Illinois was pushing for Xavier Simpson to visit during the weekend of Aug. 28. As IlliniInquirer.com broke on Monday, the program is set to host three-star small forward Xavier Sneed on the same date. It remains to be seen if the Illini will have both prospects visit at the same time. They did something similar last year, as Elijah Thomas and Jalen Coleman-Lands visited during the same weekend. Thomas' visit lasted from Friday through Sunday, while Coleman-Lands stayed from Saturday through Monday.
Individual attention is important on official visits, especially if the staff is hoping to close the deal. On the other side of the coin, hosting two targets in unison can allow a program to open up the thought process on them playing together.
Quincey Simpson did not give an indication on the exact date. The Illini would be thrilled to get his son on campus regardless of the timing. For now, the hope is that the plans will come to fruition instead of turning out to be nothing more than lip service.
Xavier Simpson's recruitment remains as one of the hardest to predict at this point in time.