Brad Underwood and his staff will have a pair of freshmen in their frontcourt this upcoming season, and the Illini are looking to add another quality big man in the 2018 class as well.
Father Lopez (Fla.) 6-foot-11 big Colin Castleton is one target Illinois has valued in their pursuit -- as they offered back in early May. Illini assistant Orlando Antigua heads the recruitment, and Underwood has been involved too.
"Coach Antigua calls me frequently to check up on me and we talk," Castleton said. "Usually, Coach Underwood will be with him so I get to talk to him as well."
Castleton averaged 23.3 points, 11 rebounds and 5.4 blocks per game as a junior in Daytona Beach. Antigua was one of the first coaches to offer him a scholarship when he was at South Florida, and that relationship has continued to blossom.
This spring, Castleton played for Nike South Beach on the EYBL circuit. He averaged 6.2 points, 6.9 rebounds and 2.4 blocks per game, while ranking fifth in the league in blocked shots. Castleton is lean for his height at 225 pounds, but he has very long arms and good feet.
Soon before the Illini offered, Castleton posted six points, 15 rebounds and eight blocks in one game during the live period in Indianapolis. He had an Illinois scholarship on the table after that weekend.
Another attractive aspect of Castleton's game is his ability to play around the perimeter. He has some skill, and he can be a mismatch by drawing big defenders out to guard him.
The Illini have a system that will focus on spacing the floor and utilizing versatile players. Castleton sees a fit with his skill set.
"I like how they tell me they're gonna use me once I get there and what position I'll be in and what looks I'm going to get," Castleton said. "Coach Antigua has produced plenty of big men and I like that about him a lot. I'm getting to know Coach Underwood more and more over this process. They told me I will be more of a four if I go there because of my ability to stretch the floor."
This month, Castleton has plans to take unofficial visits to Clemson, Florida, Georgia and South Florida. The Gators are the one program that hasn't offered out of that group.
While Illinois won't be getting an unofficial visit due to the distance, they are in good shape to receive an official visit after the AAU season.
"I currently don't have any official visits planned out at the moment, but once July is over, I will be taking officials more seriously," Castleton said. "It would be great to get up to Illinois. I just need to find a good time."