Illini's Recruit Shaun Pruitt

<p>With all the hype surrounding the "other" Shaun it appears that some forgot about the 6'9" big man that Bruce Weber signed. This weekend I got the chance to meet Shaun and his father. Read here for a Q and A session with Mr. Pruitt.

Shaun Pruitt in the Rock Island Tournament

Kedric: Now that the recruiting process is over, what was all that like for you and you family?

Steve: It was up and down; some parts were smooth and some were hectic. As it got closer to the end it got worse. We started this process early. We started visiting schools his sophomore year, so we became very familiar with the process and we started to get rid of the schools Shaun didn't like.

Kedric: This recruitment came down between Illinois and Michigan St. How difficult was it for Shaun to turn down the Spartans?

Steve: Oh my goodness, it was real hard. It took him like two weeks to decide. We turned down Tom Izzo; we turned down Magic Johnson. East Lansing is a great town. There were a lot of things he liked about MSU, but the bottom line is he really, really liked Illinois and Bruce Weber.

Kedric: Which had a bigger impact on his decision - the coaches or players?

Steve: It's a combination. He liked Bruce and he liked the players and he liked Champaign. Also, what I did was I made up a list of 12 questions that said things like what town did you like, what campus was better, which coach did you like best, and it was still coming out even. But in the end he has friends at Illinois. As a matter of fact his best friend is down there. It's also closer to home so friends and relatives can come see him play.

Kedric: Does it bother you that people constantly foul and double team Shaun?

Steve: No, it's a part of the game. He's been prepared for that. I tell him to shoot your extra free throws after practice because you are going to get fouled. I want him to anticipate that contact. He's been lifting so he's getting stronger. I told Shaun he needs to wear people down and if he's in good enough shape they will get tired in the end.

Kedric: Did Shaun feel pressured from outside people to attend Illinois?

Steve: (Laughing) Oh yeah. A lot of people at West High are Illini grads. It was a friendly pressure. Shaun would walk down the halls and friends would say, "I hope to see you at Illinois", or "We hope you make the right choice". Now his principal however is a MSU grad. She jokingly said, "You better go to MSU or you will be in trouble." It was a lot of fun.

Kedric: What part of his game needs work in your opinion?

Steve: Everything. We have been working on his right hand a lot. If you noticed on that jump-hook he came up short with it. That's big. We want him to be able to go to that right hand. And just get stronger. He's put on 15 pounds of muscle this fall. Also, the coaches told him they want him to shoot the perimeter shot more.

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