Former UIC signee Greg Eboigbodin will announce where he is headed in the very near future.
"Greg will be announcing his decision shortly," University of Detroit Jesuit coach Pat Donnelly told IlliniInquirer.com on Tuesday.
The 6-foot-9 big man requested his release from UIC in April, and he received a conditional release that enabled him to be recruited. The Flames ultimately need to sign off on the destination in order to give him a full release and allow him to play next season.
Illini assistant coach Chin Coleman recruited Eboigbodin to UIC. Illinois hosted him for a visit on May 31 and he was officially given an offer.
Eboigbodin averaged around 14 points, 14 rebounds and two blocks per game during his senior season in Detroit.
Going Illinois' way
The Coleman factor is a big one for the Illini. He was the primary recruiter for Eboigbodin at UIC. He identified him early, established a bond by recruiting him hard, convinced him to visit campus and the Flames ended up closing the deal.
Illinois has been able to utilize that connection and familiarity in their pursuit. Eboigbodin is a Nigerian native, who moved over to the United States nearly four years ago with his brother -- who is still at Detroit Jesuit. The trust component is important for any recruit, regardless of circumstance. It is a big deal in this instance as well, and Coleman has already earned Eboigbodin's trust with his future.
In addition, Eboigbodin was sent to America by his parents to receive a better education. He would like to study international business in college, and the University of Illinois would provide him with a great academic opportunity.
On the court, Coleman is very familiar with Eboigbodin's game. And so is the rest of the Illinois staff. They have studied his game and they got to see him up close in a workout during his visit last week. A source told IlliniInquirer.com that head coach Brad Underwood is very high on him.
Eboigbodin would be a great fit in Underwood's uptempo system with his length, athleticism and motor. Illinois can also offer him some early minutes with the need for frontcourt depth. It's been said the staff believes he could potentially give them double-digit minutes next season.
That makes for a strong sell.
Going against Illinois
Last week, it was announced that Eboigbodin received recent high-major offers from Illinois and Pittsburgh. Others have been involved as well: Boston College, Georgia Tech and Nevada.
And according to a source, Purdue has attempted to make a late push. The Boilermakers have one spot remaining for the 2017 class. They already have 7-foot-2 freshman center Matt Haarms, who enrolled early during the spring semester.
But Matt Painter has proven he knows how to use multiple bigs. And there will be upcoming opportunity in the Boilers' frontcourt with Caleb Swanigan entering the draft early and senior center Isaac Haas leaving after this season.
Illini confidence meter
(On a scale of 1-10 with 10 being the highest) 8 -- Illinois has had their eyes on this move for quite a while now. Since Eboigbodin was available to be recruited, they've been confident in their ability to get it done. The visit to Champaign went very well. And the fit makes plenty of sense. The late challenge by Purdue does make it interesting, especially with the quiet nature of this recruitment. But the expectation continues to be that Illinois completes the addition.
Eboigbodin would give the Illini a freshman big with immediate capabilities as a rebounder and defender. He has a 7-foot-3 wingspan and plays with a lot of energy. He also has great feet from his days as a soccer player. Offensively, Eboigbodin is a bit of a project. He will be able to find points on the offensive glass and as a rim-runner in transition. He can get above the rim for finishes given the space. And he has a capable jumper that can be fine-tuned for more consistency. Underwood is known to have a knack for developing talent. Eboigbodin certainly has untapped potential after playing competitive basketball for just three years. The Illini think he has the upside to be an impact player in the Big Ten, especially after some seasoning and physical development.