CHAMPAIGN -- Saturday was an opportunity for Illini hoops to look towards the future as they hosted a number of the state's best underclassmen for unofficial visits, and none of them has a brighter future than Peoria Manual freshman Adam Miller.
The electrifying point guard is clearly the top freshman prospect in the state, and John Groce's staff has wasted no time in making him a huge priority right away. Miller's visit to campus on Saturday was his third since June, and he has loved what he's seen thus far.
"I love the atmosphere. I love Coach Groce," Miller told IlliniInquirer.com on Saturday. "I love the way he coaches his players. I love Coach (Dustin) Ford and all the guys."
On Oct. 7, Groce called over to Peoria to make the scholarship offer -- the first of Miller's recruitment. He phoned Miller's trainer, Dave Williams, who relayed the message.
"It was fun," Miller said. "I was at school and Coach Groce called Coach Dave and he told me. I called my family and we were all really happy."
Miller came to campus with his mom on Saturday. He was also there with four-star Illini commit Da'Monte Williams, who he will join in the Manual backcourt this season.
The two are in the gym together twice a week before the sun comes up for 6 a.m. workouts, which are in addition to the Manual open gyms.
"Monte has been doing it since he was a freshman. I've been doing it since my eighth grade year," Miller said. "It's a really good workout with Coach Dave. He's really getting us better."
Miller has high expectations for himself during his first high school season.
"I feel like I've been progressing well. I just got to keep it going every day," Miller said. "I'm trying to come in as a freshman that's playing like a senior."
If he's able to do that, Manual will have a chance to accomplish the clear-cut goal that Miller has for the team.
"Win state," he said.
The Illini have the clear goal of continuing the Peoria pipeline with Miller down the road in the 2020 class. Yes, that is a long ways a way. And no, it won't be easy.
Kansas assistant Jerrance Howard was at Manual last week to watch him. There will be plenty of programs involved as this recruitment starts to blossom.
But Miller is certainly well-acquainted with what Champaign has to offer, and he is feeling the home-state love.
"I love it," Miller said of the environment. "I feel the love. It's kind of pushing me here."