Many fans posting on the Internet claim to have sources or know people who claim to be true ‘insiders' in the world of big time college basketball recruiting. While some of these may be legit, TDD went to some of the most respected experts in the field including Dave Telep, Eric Bossi, and Clint Jackson to get their opinions on just how this will shake out.
I think it's gotten to the point where this race is tighter than anyone thought it would ever be. Illinois batted last and the in-state school, by all accounts, hit a home run. Now, will that be enough to get them over the hump? Right now, they seem to have the momentun. With that said, I think like he stated, there is more to it than just the visits. I wouldn't be surprised to see this end any day now but I think Shaun is weighing more variables than just the visit.
Shaun's family supports a decision to go to Duke. I think based on everything that he's said -- in interviews, newspaper articles and just the random stuff that my job allows me to hear -- it's probably going to be Duke. I think the appeal of Illinois, being the home town school and the fact that he has friends and family there, helps the Illini. And he had a great time at Arizona, based on his quotes.
Shaun keeps referring to his decision, though, as a business decision, which in torn, removes the emotional part. And I think that he's going to make the choice to go to Duke. I think the NBA pull will always be there though with this kid, especially if he transforms his body this year. And that seems to be a focus of his.
Just like Shaun said it would, the decision about where he will go to school has come down to the wire. Now that we've reached nut cutting time, I don't know that anybody can truly say they know for sure what way he is leaning. There have been so many questions about exactly how much influence his father and grandfather will or won't have on his decision or how Shaun sees himself on the next level. One day you hear he is a lock to Duke, the next that he is leaning Arizona. I still don't think Illinois has been given enough of a chance or respect by many people when looking at this situation.
I've always gone by a rule of thumb that in situations like this, you never ever count out the home school until a kid makes it clear he wants to leave. I don't think Shaun has made it clear that he wants to leave and I think it is going to be really tough for him to turn down the home school and his fans. Everything I hear suggests that his official visit to Illinois -- particularly the fan showing at the pickup game he played in -- made a big impact. At this point, I think any prediction is at best a quasi educated guess and with everybody else saying Duke or Arizona, I'll buck the trend and say Illinois. Why the heck not?