Grandview (Mo.) 6-foot-4 combo guard Jordan Lathon is kicking off the final stages of his recruitment this month after announcing his top five schools on June 2.
The Illini made the cut for the athletic 2018 playmaker after offering him a scholarship in May. Butler, Iowa State, Northwestern and Wake Forest were also on the list.
On Thursday, Lathon will begin his first official visit at Iowa State. He will follow that up next week with an official visit at Northwestern. Lathon told IlliniInquirer.com on Monday that he is in the process of lining a visit up at Illinois.
"We're still trying to figure out a date to get down there," he said.
Lathon's recruitment was kick-started in a hurry after showing well on the adidas circuit this spring with Team Rush. Butler is the only program in his top five who offered before this past May, as they were in before the start of his junior season. Things have been shaken up recently, though, with head coach Chris Holtmann taking the job at Ohio State.
As for Illinois, assistant coach Jamall Walker began recruiting Lathon this spring. And head coach Brad Underwood has quickly become involved as well.
"My relationship with Coach Walker is very good. He knows my AAU coach well and we clicked from the jump," Lathon said. "Coach Underwood sees me impacting their team with not only my game but my leadership abilities. They have a large fan base and Coach Underwood told me he needs players that can turn the program around."
The Illini certainly like Lathon's quickness and athleticism in the open court. He fits the tempo and style of play very well, while presenting another potential ball-handler in the backcourt. Underwood would like multiple on the floor at the same time.
Lathon averaged 16.5 points, 6.6 rebounds, four assists and 2.3 steals per game as a junior, while leading his team to a 24-5 record. He recently had surgery on his wrist after tearing a ligament, and the recovery will keep him sidelined for the live periods next month.
This recruitment figures to progress relatively quickly, and Illinois' approach will be interesting to watch.
"The key factors in my final decision will be the opportunity to be in a position to be successful, and the program I have the strongest relationship and trust with," Lathon said.