After official visits to Illinois and Virginia last week, late-rising 2017 forward Francesco Badocchi is nearing a decision.
"I will probably make a decision this week. Probably the weekend or this week," Badocchi told IlliniInquirer.com. "I feel like one of those two schools has everything that I want."
The Illini certainly impressed when they brought the 6-foot-7 Italy native to campus. It was the first official visit that head coach Brad Underwood and his staff conducted as a group at Illinois, and they bonded well with Badocchi.
"Coach Underwood and all the assistant coaches were amazing. It just felt like a family," Badocchi said. "Even though there is a new staff, they just clicked in with the team. Orlando Antigua was very funny and just a great guy. Just seeing them interact with me was like a family. It just felt really good that I could be in that environment."
Badocchi arrived on Sunday night of last week. He met his parents there, who flew from Milan, Italy. On Monday, the family got a tour of the State Farm Center, watched team workouts, met with Josh Whitman and had dinner with the coaches.
Badocchi talked about watching the team go to work at Ubben.
"It was very interesting. It was really focused on fundamentals. Shooting, dribbling and passing," he said. "I saw things that I had never done. It was very detailed."
The State Farm Center was one aspect of the trip that stood out the most for Badocchi.
"I haven't seen a lot of arenas that nice. Just entering there was magnificent. The way it's structured with all the seats blue and orange -- it's just amazing," he said. "When I went, the basketball court wasn't on the floor because they were having a concert. But you could still feel the greatness of that arena. It was really amazing."
Badocchi also got acquainted with the music department. He plays the piano and guitar.
On Tuesday, Badocchi saw more of campus. He met with the College of Business. He also went to the team dinner, and he hung out with the players after that.
What did he think of the Illini players?
"The first impression I got from them is that they're very humble guys. They were just really nice guys," Badocchi said. "Got to talk a lot with the coach's son, Tyler. He seemed like a very nice guy. It's a great team."
Badocchi saw a fit off the floor. And he sees one on it as well in Underwood's fast-paced system.
"I see myself as an athletic player and versatile. Coach Underwood's style would fit me perfectly because it is uptempo, you run, he likes to score in the first seven seconds," Badocchi said. "I like to go up and down the floor, get rebounds and just push it."
"I could play multiple positions, and that's a plus for him. I would mainly be a three that would run up and down the floor. I could post up if I wanted to. Just be in different spots and be a threat both inside and out."
How about the visit to Virginia?
"It was good. They are two different environments. They were both amazing schools," Badocchi said. "Both had great campuses and great facilities. I was blown away by both of them."
Illinois and Virginia both came into the picture around the same time. Neither got to see Badocchi play a high school game.
This has been a wild process for Badocchi, who came over from Italy prior to his junior year. He didn't play AAU ball, which kept him off the radar until late in the game. Thus, he played his senior year without knowing where he'd end up.
"It was really overwhelming. Coming from Italy, I didn't really know the level of college basketball. I just knew KU because I always came here in the summer," Badocchi said. "When Virginia and Illinois came, I was pretty honored and shocked. I knew that I could get to that level. But I didn't know that they thought I could get to that level."
Badocchi added that he has fielded calls from Kansas State, Nebraska, Oklahoma, Oklahoma State and Wichita State since the end of his senior season. Boise State has been trying to get him to take a visit, but Badocchi appears set on his two.
In fact, it sounds like he has a pretty good idea of his one. We should find out soon.