It hasn't been the smoothest start for Brad Underwood and his staff on the recruiting trail since taking over just a couple of weeks ago. After the news broke that 5-star center Jeremiah Tilmon of East St. Louis would be requesting a release from his letter of intent last week, Belleville (IL) East small forward Javon Pickett, the first member of the 2017 class, followed suit on Saturday and indicated that he would also be seeking a release from his letter as first reported by PrepHoops Illinois' Scott Burgess.
Illinois has not yet officially released either from their letters at this time, however, in most cases, it is just a matter of time.
The 6'-6" Pickett, who hails from the same high school program as graduating Illinois small forward Malcolm Hill, was the first to pledge to John Groce back in January of 2016. A 20+ point-per-game scorer, Pickett was considered underrated by many. If and/or when both Tilmon and Pickett are granted releases, that leaves the Illini with just two members of their original 4-man class in PG Trent Frazier and CG Da'Monte Williams.
Regarding Pickett's request, rumors are swirling that he was disappointed in the lack of continued effort in recruiting him by the new staff and that, despite several visits by the staff to Jeremiah Tilmon and Mark Smith, that he was only visited once despite his proximity to the other two recruits.
We hope to have more on this developing story soon here on IlliniInquirer.com. In the meantime, head on over to the IlliniInquirer forum to discuss.