Champaign Central wing Tim Finke has been a target of interest in his hometown for quite some time, and the decision-making process will be heating up before too long.
The top-100 target is very familiar with a handful of schools, especially the one in his own backyard. But that familiarity needs to be built with the coaching staff once again now that Brad Underwood has taken over.
Underwood and assistants Orlando Antigua and Chin Coleman had an in-home visit with Finke and his family last month. The new coaches made a good impression.
"It's been pretty neat to meet them and get to know the whole staff. They all came over and I like them a lot," Finke said at the EYBL session in Atlanta. "They just showed me how they like to play and who they like to recruit. I've got a pretty good feel for that. And I will in the near future too."
Finke noted that he has taken the time to watch film of Underwood's teams at Stephen F. Austin and Oklahoma State, and he likes the uptempo style. There are also a few other things that come to Finke's mind when thinking about Underwood.
"Definitely winning," Finke said. "He brings a toughness. I know he's a tough coach. That's always good -- pushes his guys to get the best out of them. He's definitely going to win there."
The new Illini staff has made Finke feel like a priority to this point, and other programs are doing the same.
"Oregon, Notre Dame, Vandy, Butler are some other schools that are pretty high up on me right now," Finke said. "They're all staying in consistent contact with me. They've all shown how they'd like to use me, and that's a big thing for me to see how I'd be used in their system."
Fit is something that has been at the top of the checklist in Finke's evaluation of his options at the next level. And separating one from another will factor in his position on the priority list.
"I really want a staff that needs me rather than just wants me. I think that's a pretty big thing for me," he said.
Finke said he would like to potentially take some visits in June, and that he may have a timeline in his mind.
"It's definitely something I've thought about," he said. "But I still want to sit down with my dad and my family and talk about that. I definitely want to get through this month first, and we'll sit down and go from there."
As for his game, Finke has averaged 15 points and 6.2 rebounds per game on the EYBL circuit with MeanStreets through three sessions. He is shooting 42.4 percent from the field and 27.3 percent from deep on a team that sports one of the better records in the league at 8-4.
"I think we've been playing pretty well as a team," Finke said. "We've all come together. Everybody likes everybody. We've been rolling so far."
Individually, Finke has grown a little more up to about 6-foot-7. He has developed physically with more strength and broader shoulders.
"I've been hitting the weight room a lot, especially after AAU season last year. Just to add strength," he said. "If you get stronger, it's going to help you. Not trying to get too big to where I can't shoot. But definitely have focused on that."
"I think I've become a lot smarter and stronger. I think I can play off that a lot more than I could last year. I just feel like I've been a little bit different."
In regards to improvement, Finke is focused on attacking the basket more often and improving his defensive skills. That will enable him to play his desired position in college.
"I see myself as a two," he said. "I'm trying to improve my handles always, and also working on my lateral quickness. Want to be able to guard any two. That's really what I'm working on."
Finke had a strong showing on Saturday when he posted 16 points and five rebounds against Nike Phamily. He also had 10 points, eight rebounds and three assists in a win on Friday night against the Oakland Soliders.
With a high basketball IQ and a versatile skill set, Finke is a contributor that helps his team win games. And winning is what Underwood is all about.
Illinois' approach with him in the coming months will play a big part in determining if this is ultimately a match.