Best Illini post player recruits of Scout era

Jeremiah Tilmon is one of the highest-rated Illini big man recruits ever. How do other past lowe-post Illini from the Scout era (2002 and beyond) stack up? Granted, Illinois hasn't landed a lot of them, but here are the Scout 100 big men who have signed with Illinois.

Aaron Spears

Class: 2002

Scout national rank: 75

Position rank (center): 11

Illini career: Recruited by Norm Roberts out of Chicago Dunbar, Spears spent two seasons at Illinois but took a medical redshirt for his first season due to a knee injury. In 26 games with the Illini, he totaled 40 points and 20 rebounds. Following the 2003-04 season, Spears transferred to St. John's where he played 53 games over three seasons, averaging 5.8 points and 2.8 rebounds.

James Augustine

Class: 2002

Scout national rank: 73

Position rank (power forward): 14

Illini career: Along with Dee Brown, James Augustine is the program's most winningest player. He played 137 games for Illinois (tied for second most in program history, is the program's all-time leading rebounder (1,023), is No. 20 on the Illinois all-time scoring list  (1,383) and holds the Illinois record for career field-goal percentage (61.7). The Orlando Magic selected Augustine with the 41st overall pick (second round) of the 2006 NBA Draft and played with Orlando until 2008. Since, he has had a successful overseas, playing in top leagues in Spain and Russia.

Getty Images

Shaun Pruitt

Class: 2004

Scout national rank: 58

Position rank (power forward): 14

Illini career: Pruitt produced. He ranks No. 45 on the career scoring list (1,058 points) and was one of the program's top interior scorers of the past decade. But the Aurora native butted heads with Bruce Weber, boiling over in a yelling match inside the locker room following a loss at Purdue. Pruitt was suspended for a game during his senior season, which ended with a 16-19 overall record and 5-13 Big Ten mark.

courtesy Illinois athletics

Brian Carlwell

Class: 2006

Scout national rank: 37

Position rank (center): 6

Illini career: The long-armed Proviso East product was a big project but one with a high ceiling. But his career was derailed during February of his freshman year when he got in a car with an inebriated teammate. Jamar Smith lost control of his car on a snowy, icy night and struck a tree on the passenger side. Smith drove the car back to his apartment complex and left the car thinking Carlwell had died. Carlwell had suffered a severe concussion that kept him in intensive care for multiple days. He missed the rest of his freshman season (eight games). Carlwell played just 29 games at Illinois, totaling 44 points and 36 rebounds. He transferred to San Diego State, where he played for two NCAA Tournament teams and averaged 4.2 points and 3.8 rebounds over two seasons

Getty Images

Meyers Leonard

Class: 2010

Scout national rank: 19

Position rank (center): 6

Illini career: The Robinson native committed to Illinois the summer before his junior prep season and ignored overtures from programs like North Carolina to stick with the home state team. The freakishly big and athletic center struggled during his freshman season, averaging 2.1 points and 1.2 rebounds behind senior Mike Tisdale. But he blossomed as a sophomore, averaging 13.6 points and 8.2 rebounds. Sadly, the indelible memory of his Illini career will be shots of him crying on the bench following an embarrassing loss at Nebraska during the Illini's horrendous end of the 2011-12 season in which the Illini lost 12 of 14, resulting in Bruce Weber's dismissal. Still, Leonard proved himself and became the Illini's first and only lottery pick since Deron Williams with the Trailblazers selecting him 11th overall in the 2012 NBA Draft. He just signed a four-year, $41 million contract extension to stay in Portland, making him one of the top career earners among former Illini. He's just 24 years old.

USA Today // Mary Langenfeld

Nnanna Egwu

Class: 2011

Scout national rank: 67

Position rank (center): 9

Illini career: The Chicago St. Ignatius product started 106 games at Illinois and is the Illini career blocks leader (201). While his offense was oft-criticized, Egwu was one of the better defenders in recent Illini history and a great leader. Egwu made two NCAA Tournaments and was a three-year captain. He played last season in the NBA Developmental League and played with the Magic during Summer League each of the past two years.

USA Today // Mike Carter

Jeremiah Tilmon

Class: 2017

Scout national rank: 19

Position rank (center): 7

Illini career: The East St. Louis native and La Lumiere (Ind.) Prep center committed to Illinois on Saturday, giving Illinois just its second five-star commitment since Dee Brown (Class of 2002). With Illinois losing Mike Thorne Jr. and Maverick Morgan after this season, Tilmon fills a big hole at center and gives Illinois its best pro prospect since Leonard.

Ryan Easterling -

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