Landing a big-time point guard in the 2016 class could do wonders for the Illinois basketball program, and the Illini took a major step in that direction by locking in an official visit with four-star playmaker Xavier Simpson.
The Lima, Ohio native is set to visit Champaign on Aug. 28--Quincey Simpson (Xavier's father) told IlliniInquirer.com on Sunday.
"We're excited about Illinois," Quincey Simpson said. "Looking forward to seeing campus and meeting coaches and players."
Xavier Simpson is one of the top point guard prospects in the Midwest regardless of class. He was a standout amongst a loaded field at the Peach Jam last month, as he averaged 19.2 points and 7.0 assists per game.
John Groce and the Illini staff have pushed hard to get Xavier Simpson on campus, and their efforts have been rewarded with the upcoming plans. He took an official visit to Iowa State on Aug. 7, and he also has one set to Miami on Sept. 11. Right now, it appears to be a three-horse race for the prized target.
There are only a handful of point guards who can come in and start right away in the Big Ten, and Xavier Simpson is certainly one of them. The Illini have been selling him on that opportunity since extending an offer back in January. Of the current programs in the mix, Illinois has been in the longest and the staff has built a strong relationship during that time frame.
"I like Illinois. I have a good relationship with those coaches. Coach Groce and Coach (Dustin) Ford are some cool guys," Xavier Simpson said last month. "They show a lot of loyalty."
Relationship with the coaching staff and an opportunity to shine are key factors in his recruitment.
"I'm looking for a school where I have a great relationship with the coaching staff. So when I leave there, I can come back and visit and still be loved," Xavier Simpson said. "I'm looking for a school where I can do what I'm doing now. Run a team, be in a position with the ball in my hand, play right away and for the coaches to just give me the ball and let me lead."
The Illini seem to stack up well in those aspects. Illinois will also host three-star small forward Xavier Sneed next weekend for an official visit, as reported by IlliniInquirer.com. Groce will do his best to convince the 'X-Men' that Champaign is the place for them.
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