A celebration was in order in Champaign this past weekend as four-star point guard Te'Jon Lucas came to campus for an official visit following his commitment to the Illini.
Lucas felt that Illinois was the place to be and opted to commit prior to the visit date. It was a huge addition and relief for the Illini staff, as they kicked off their 2016 class by solidifying their biggest area of need.
Lucas said his feelings about Illinois were confirmed on his visit, and he is glad that he was able to relax on the trip and take it all in.
"It was nice," Lucas said. "It was nice that I wasn't there feeling pressure to commit. It was great to be there and just enjoy it."
Lucas got a chance to meet with the academic advisors and the team tutor. He also visited the business and communications buildings, as those are the two areas of study that he is interested in.
As for the rest of the visit, Lucas said he spent most of it by hanging out with the team and the coaches.
"I bonded with the team a lot. Me and the team got to do a lot of stuff together. We went to Coach Groce's house and had dinner with his family," Lucas said. "Just bonded with the team and the coaches to form more of a family relationship."
Lucas was overwhelmed by the amount of excitement and well wishes he received in Champaign. After waiting more than 153 weeks for a point guard commit, head coach John Groce was very excited for Lucas' arrival.
"Coach Groce was really excited to see me and my family as soon as I got there. And so were the rest of the coaches," Lucas said. The team was excited and they welcomed me to the family. The fans, the students and a lot of people there know me now, so they welcomed me and said they're glad to have me there."
Lucas was introduced to the passionate fan base on Twitter before and after his announcement. He took an even bigger liking to them after seeing them up close.
"The fan base is ridiculously crazy there. They are really good," Lucas said. "They like me a lot and are showing a lot of love to me. They're really nice and better than I could have even expected."
Another big part of the visit for Lucas was meeting former All-American point guard and Illini great Dee Brown.
"It was real good," Lucas said. "He's a really good person and he told me I made a really good decision, and I know I did because he was able to get it done here and get to the professional level. So it really motivated me."
Lucas stopped by the State Farm Center to take a look inside and he likes the way things are coming along. He said he plans to return for the opener on Dec. 2 against Notre Dame.
Lucas has already begun visioning what it will be like to suit up and play in that arena.
"I've been thinking about it a lot. I feel like I'm putting on the right colors," he said. "Everybody said the colors look nice on me. I've got a lot of picture edits with me having the uniform on. So I can't wait to finally play in that uniform."
For now, Lucas is focused on improving his game and getting ready to compete at the Big Ten level. He was recently measured at 6-foot-1, and he plans on adding more strength and developing his jumper.
"I want to get stronger because I know the Big Ten is a big and strong conference. You have to be strong to be able to finish. I'm going to be tough and then make sure I'm a consistent shooter at all times," Lucas said. "I don't want anybody doubting me. I can shoot it now and I'm going to make sure that when I get there I'm automatic."
Everyone in Illini Nation is already looking forward to that day.