John Groce and his staff will host their first official visit of the 2017 class this weekend, and it is a big one with top-100 point guard Trent Frazier coming to town.
This visit has been a long time coming with Illinois prioritizing Frazier as a top-level target over the last year. Frazier and his parents will fly out of Palm Beach, Fla. on Friday to Chicago and then connect down to Champaign.
"We're really excited," Frazier told IlliniInquirer.com on Wednesday night.
Frazier said he's talked with Groce and assistant coach Dustin Ford this week, and they share that same excitement. While this will be Frazier's first trip to Champaign, he feels like he already knows just about everything about the program.
"I already know what they are bringing," Frazier said. "It's awesome."
Going Illinois' way
Frazier called the Illini his leader back in the spring after an in-home visit with Groce and Ford. He vocally maintained that stance throughout the summer as well. Illinois has been all over him since the end of the AAU season last year. They've recruited him for over a year, while their biggest competition (Georgia) has recruited him for just over three weeks.
The relationship that the Illini have been able to establish is crucial. Frazier trusts them with his future. His family has bought in to what they're selling. Frazier's high school coach also likes the Illinois staff. They have made in-roads in all the necessary places.
Furthermore, their loyalty and making him the top point guard target on the board is exactly what Frazier wants. That's why Illinois was able to get the lead, and keep the lead up to this point. Other programs came salivating after Frazier put up multiple 30-point outings in July. But the Illini already knew he had that ability, and they already laid their groundwork by the time the competition came calling.
Illinois also presents Frazier with an opportunity to compete for major minutes right away. Incoming freshman Te'Jon Lucas is currently the only point guard set to be on the 2017-18 roster. Frazier can change that, and there will be no limitations on what he can earn. He suits Groce's ball-screen offense, and he fits the prototype as a scoring lead guard with quickness, handles and an ability to turn it up in transition.
Going against Illinois
Georgia has an official visit scheduled with Frazier for next weekend. He just became a big priority for the Bulldogs after missing out on home-state point guard Darius Perry this week.
Mark Fox and his staff will try what they can to get Frazier to avoid committing this weekend so that they can roll out their sell to him in Athens. These are the two main contenders in this race.
Like Illinois, Georgia will graduate two point guards after the upcoming season. That opens up plenty of opportunity. Georgia is closer to home for Frazier, although it still isn't exactly close. Athens is about a nine-hour trip from Wellington, Fla.
Confidence in a commitment
(On a scale of 1-10, 10 being the highest): Nine (9) -- A connected source recently told IlliniInquirer.com that there is a very good chance Frazier pulls the trigger on the visit this weekend. They indicated that Illinois remains as the leader, and Georgia is a "distant second". You can bet the Illini staff will go all-in on closing it down, and they are confident in being able to do just that. This one has been very close for a while, and Illinois has just needed a visit to blow him away. Frazier told IlliniInquirer.com in July that Illinois "feels like home already". The chance is there for the taking to make it so.
Frazier would provide the Illini with a top-100 playmaker at a position of need. Illinois needed a big man in this class, and they got one in the form of five-star center Jeremiah Tilmon. The Illini have needed a point guard as well, and landing this offensive dynamo from Florida would be huge. In a crucial class, these are the type of answers that Josh Whitman expected Groce to deliver on when he gave him his vote of confidence.
Frazier's commitment would swing positive momentum back in Illinois' favor, and alleviate some of the sour taste that is left from the Jordan Goodwin recruitment. Ultimately, Frazier would be the type of offense weapon that Groce has been trying to reel in at point guard since coming to Champaign. Put him in the same backcourt as Jalen Coleman-Lands, and the Illini may have their own version of the 'Splash Brothers'.