CHAMPAIGN -- Peoria point guard phenom Adam Miller hasn't played a game of high school basketball at Manual, but he has plenty of passengers on board the hype train at this stage of his career.
Miller has already earned the designation as the best freshman prospect in the state of Illinois. Not only that, but on Friday, he earned an offer from John Groce and the home-state Illini.
Miller took his first college visit to Champaign in June, and Illinois has now become the first program to offer him a scholarship.
Many who have witnessed Miller in action will tell you he's the most promising talent to arise from the 309-area since Shaun Livingston. His skill set is impeccable at such a young age, and he has the makings of being a full-fledged star.
Miller is a smooth lefty playmaker with the ability to put his stamp on the game possession after possession. He can hit the three, drive to the bucket and facilitate off the bounce. His vision and ball skills are major highlights as well.
'We will win'. 'Make Illinois great again'. Whatever you want to call it. Groce's push to vault this program back to a national contender hinges largely on getting the best players in the state, especially those prime opportunities in the downstate region.
The Illini did that with blue-chip big man Jeremiah Tilmon, as they recruited him longer and more effectively than anyone -- leading to his commitment this past summer. Illinois will hope for more of the same, and this is the start of that process with Miller.
History has shown that when downstate is strong, Illinois basketball is strong. The Illini flourished during Peoria's peak with Mr. Basketball winners Sergio McClain and Frank Williams helping to ignite a run of Big Ten titles and set the platform for a further reign of success.
Now, Illinois is looking for the next wave in Peoria to part of something similarly special. Four-star combo guard Da'Monte Williams is committed to the Illini in the 2017 class, and he will run with Miller in the Manual backcourt this season.
Getting Miller to buy in down the line would be huge, but this will likely be a big-boy chase. Kansas already has early interest and they're working to get him on campus.
This is just the beginning, but it's not too early for the Illini to dig in with an in-state prospect of this caliber.