Illini Summer Recruiting Roundup

It has been a busy two weeks in the recruiting circuit with the shoe camps concluding, and now AAU Tournaments like the Nike Peach Jam getting underway. Illini recruiting targets are playing all across the country, and the Illini coaching staff is travelling all across the country to make their presence felt in the gyms. Here is a run down of the last two weeks of news from across the Internet, with some additional information that has gleamed from the situation.

It has been a busy two weeks in the recruiting circuit with the shoe camps concluding, and now AAU Tournaments like the Nike Peach Jam getting underway. Illini recruiting targets are playing all across the country, and the Illini coaching staff is travelling all across the country to make their presence felt in the gyms. Bruce Weber and his orange cell phone have been and will be front and center in front of many different prospects the Illini are recruiting. Here is a run down of the last two weeks of news from across the Internet, with some additional information that has gleamed from the situation.

Richard Semrau Profile

ABCD: Day One by Jeff Goodman
he Illinois commit was playing more physical than he did in April, but then he re-injured his knee and had to sit out the night session. Toughness is a major concern for the Ohio native.
Brian Carlwell Profile

Nike Camp: First Report by Dave Telep
His addition will prove to be one of great significance to the Illinois program. If Illini fans are patient, by his sophomore season, this could be one of the elite interior players in the Big Ten. Like Andrew Bynum last year, he's gone from being a quiet and reserved young man to a kid who is much more comfortable with a microphone in front of him. He's a finisher inside and when you get him touches he responds. We expected a big summer out of him and he's off to a good beginning.
Thursday at Nike Camp by Eric Bossi
Illinois got a terrific big man with lots of room to expand his game in Brian Carlwell. The improving lefty is huge, has soft hands and wants to be a player.
Nike Camp Whispers:
  • The Illini landed a player with a ton of potential, and one whose recruiting really would have picked up after the camp from the elite level schools had he not given an early verbal commitment to Illinois.
  • One of the main things that Brian needs to improve on his game is the addition of a killer instinct on the inside when attacking the basket.

    Sherron Collins Profile

    Nike Camp: Press Room Report I by Dave Telep
    During the morning 3-on-3 session, Bill Self, Bruce Weber and Jim Calhoun stood courtside for the nation's No. 2 ranked point guard, Sherron Collins. We believe Steve Alford was in the building as well for the session
    Sherron Collins finally revealed a few schools in front of a media throng. Illinois, Iowa, Virginia, Indiana and Kansas were mentioned. This is the first time in a quite a while that Collins has made public statements about his school list or at least gave an indication as to who had made some in roads.
    Nike Camp: Second Report by Dave Telep
    Tywon Lawson vs. Sherron Collins: "I think this was the matchup everyone wanted to see," Collins said afterward. "It was challenging. I think it was mostly even. We made each other work." Collins' assessment was on point. Lawson finished with 11 points (4-8 FG, 2 assists, 2 turnovers, 3 boards) and Collins dropped 8 points (4-6 FG, 2 assists, 3 turnovers, 2 steals).

    There was no negligible difference in the two standout point guards. Collins uses power and quickness while Lawson's game is a bit more refined; either one works. The highlight of the matchup was Lawson drilling a 3-pointer and getting fouled by Collins with 24 seconds left. Lawson would then miss the free throw, leaving the door open for Collins.

    The Chi-Town star blew past Lawson and everyone else on his way to the hole for the game-tying bucket to send the contest into overtime. In sudden death, a ridiculously poor call by an official ended the game at the free throw line with a big man stroking a freebie. A better scenario would have called for Collins and Lawson to play a sudden death game of one-on-one.
    Nike: It's a Wrap by Eric Bossi
    The last time Nike Camp featured an All-Star game was 1997 and this year there were two. Rather than splitting the games up among underclassmen and seniors to be, Nike mixed up kids of all ages among the four teams and tried to set up intriguing matchups. The first game between Team Flight and Team Force featured a rematch between Tywon Lawson and Sherron Collins and a Kevin Durant versus Brandan Wright tussle.

    Co-MVP's Durant and Collins were able to lead their Team Flight to a 121-117 victory. Understand that Wright played very well in going for 13 points and three boards in just 19 minutes, but Durant was on another level. Showing a ridiculous ability to put the ball on the floor and create open jump shots, Durant also got some easy buckets around the rim and wowed with some clever passing. Yes he needs to get stronger, but his 19 point, seven rebound and four assist effort was the best of either game.
    Thursday at Nike Camp by Eric Bossi
    Whether or not they can make up enough ground to really make a move on him is a valid question, but there is no doubting that Kansas is making a major push for Collins. Both Self and Dooley were up front and personal for each of Collins' Thursday games -- along with Bruce Weber, Steve Alford, Dave Leito and Mike Davis -- and the 5-11 PG scintillated. There hasn't been a player yet who has proved capable of stopping him off the dribble and they aren't just getting beaten, they are getting embarrassed. The best way to understand how devastating he's been is to take stock of the faces of those who have watched him because they obviously felt bad for the guys that were trying to stop him. He's also capable of hitting jumpers and is clearly one of the top two PG's in camp.
    Nike Gets Off to a Fast Start by Eric Bossi
    You would be hard pressed to find a better ball handler in the class of 2006 than the powerful 5-11 PG from Chi-Town. He's far too strong for defenders to knock off his dribble and he's extremely creative on top of it making it tough for anybody to stay in front of him. He hit talented rising junior Chris Wright with a couple of crossovers that had the crowd oohing and aahing with delight. Once he beat defenders with the dribble he was able to convert on sweet flip shots and floaters or pull up for high arching 15 footers. There were a few turnovers mixed in there but you can tell his teammates really enjoyed playing with him. As usual Collins refused to provide any details regarding his recruitment.
    Summer Time Whispers:
  • Sherron Collins has attracted the attention of Illinois' former coach, and current Kansas coach Bill Self. While there never was a school list officially given for Sherron before Nike Camp, the inclusion of Kansas on the list is no mistake as the Kansas staff has been recruiting Collins for months.
  • While some Illinois fans might be scared that another top in state talent could leave the state, it still appears Illinois and Iowa may be the teams to beat in the Collins recruitment.
  • Who could be Illinois' biggest asset in the recruitment? Could it be former Illinois and current Houston Rockets' guard Luther Head and his good friend Georgia Tech & Chicago Crane guard Will Bynum?
  • Rumors coming out of the Peach Jam also have Sherron Collins no longer being a member of the Illinois Warriors. If these are true, what impact will this have on his recruitment?

  • Ramar Smith Profile

    Nike Camp: First Report by Dave Telep
    He had a first half that was vintage Smith in the early session. While being aggressive, Smith gave you a taste of the explosion that we know he's got in his game. He didn't close the ballgame quite as strong though he has reportedly been in top form for most of the camp.
    Nike Camp: Press Room Report I by Dave Telep
    Ramar Smith,'s No. 25 prospect, had Jim Calhoun trailing him during the 3-on-3 sessions in the morning. Then, later in the day Calhoun, Tom Izzo, Frank Haith of Miami, Stan Heath of Arkansas and Bruce Pearl of Tennessee were courtside.
    Nike Camp: Second Report by Dave Telep
    Ramar Smith to Philly? Not so fast. "I'm leaving [Detroit] but I don't know if I'm going to Philly," Smith said. His reason for leaving is because he'd like to play on a high school team that is able to play a national schedule. The Michigan high school association prohibits that kind of extensive travel. Smith listed Arkansas, Illinois, Arizona, UConn and Michigan State.
    Thaddeus Young Profile

    adidas Superstar Camp: Day One Run Down by Dave Telep
    Not bad considering he only recently had the boot removed from his foot. Young expressed a concern about being able to get by kids but he was able to do so in the game we caught. You could tell he's still feeling his way out and might even have forced it a little, but by week's end the talent with come through.
    adidas Superstar Camp: Day TwoRun Down by Dave Telep
    The ankle is clearly still bothering him and he seems somewhat frustrated by injury. Still, he's looked remarkably good for stretches and he'll slide right past guys on the way to the rim. Give him major props for playing through what is obviously a nagging injury.
    KU Targets at adidas Superstar by Evan Daniels
    Coming off a foot injury, Young was effective, especially considering the circumstances. The 6-foot-8 forward got to the rim on a few occasions and finished well. He's very mobile for his size, and you can tell that he's going to be a big time college player. Young, who is ranked the 3rd best player in the 2006 class, played solid defense today as well, keeping Antonio Pena in check after Pena had scored 10 quick points before Young entered the game. He also got his hands in the passing lanes and recorded 3 steals.
    adidas Superstar: Day Two Notes by Dave Telep
    Thaddeus Young drew Roy Williams, Bruce Pearl and Stan Heath. We think John Calipari was in the building at that time as well. Young denied a published report that he was down to three schools saying he never told anyone that and he's not trimmed his list.
    Burlison's Take On The Top 30 Adidas Camp Players by Frank Burlison
    One of the five best scorers in the camp, the 6-8 lefty is so proficient with his mid to deep jump shot that he rarely had to show off his slick ball-handling skills to get himself into position to score.
    Final Thoughts on KU Targets by Evan Daniels
    As the week went on Young improved a little more. It was obvious that his foot injury was nagging him through the first few days. Young took it right at the opposition at every change he could get and did force the issue a little. He's very quick for his size and has some steady handles as well. His left-handed stroke is pretty and in one game in particular he knocked down a trio of threes. Young didn't play that well in the all-star game, but still made a few impressive plays at the rim. Earlier in the week it was reported that Young had narrowed his list of schools down, and that just isn't the case. Young said that he would at least like to wait until the end of the month to narrow his list down.
    Duke Crews Profile

    Peach Jam: Day Two (Session 2, Part II) by Dave Telep
    There's no question this crew is the prohibitive favorite to win the tournament. College coaches are now getting to see what scouts have been privy too all spring: this squad is loaded. Boo brings Top 100 talents off the bench! Scott Reynolds and Duke Crews have been their best players through four games. When Reynolds – who mysteriously misfired on 1-for-7 from 3-point range – scores big, Boo wins. Crews has been a beast inside too.
    Head coaches spotted watching Duke Crews: St. John's Norm Roberts, Wake Forest's Skip Prosser, Florida's Billy Donovan, Virginia's Dave Leitao, Georgetown's Thompson, Illinois' Bruce Weber, Sean Miller of Xavier and Cincy's Bob Huggins. Crews said Wake and Cincy recently offered. He'll cut the list in August to five; presently it reads Xavier, St. John's, Maryland, Georgetown, Virginia, Florida, Florida State, Wake Forest, Georgia Tech, Florida, Florida State, Illinois, UNC.
    Eric Gordon Profile

    Burlison's Take On The Top 30 Adidas Camp Players by Frank Burlison
    His offensive game, via the jump shot or drive-and-slam, is extremely tight and explosive. He's more scorer than point guard right now.
    Favors Illinois by Ben Sylvan
    Although it's still early in the game, North Central (Indianapolis, Ind.) guard Eric Gordon says Illinois is the leading candidate for his collegiate destination.

    The 6-foot-4 shooting guard also said he's considering Indiana, Missouri, Notre Dame, Kentucky and Miami.

    One of the top shooting guards in the Class of 2007, Gordon dropped 18 points in the morning session of the adidas Superstar Camp Friday.
    Adidas Camp All-Star Review by Evan Daniels
    He's such an effortless shooter and while he will hang out and shoot deep treys, he can do so much more. The 6-foot-3 guard showed that he has the jumping ability to grab rebounds with the big guys inside as well as the quickness to drive the lane. While he hit some shots, his jumper wasn't falling so the all-star game so he took it to the basket and did damage there.
    Derrick Rose Profile

    Nike Camp: First Report by Dave Telep
    Derrick Rose, a 2007 guard, has the kind of burst that makes him an elite level guard.
    Nike Camp: Second Report by Dave Telep
    The speed, the burst, the poise. He's got the total package at point. The great ones play the game the right way and make everyone better. Rose is in that category and we wouldn't be upset if he even got a little more selfish with his offense because scoring comes easy to him. The jumper was cookin' in the evening game but the explosion was eye popping.
    Thursday at Nike Camp by Eric Bossi
    Another relatively quiet day for the 6-2 PG out of Chicago. Now, he certainly showed some flashes of brilliance and has a gear that no other 2007 guard -- with the exception of Jerryd Bayless -- can reach in terms of speed with the ball. One thing is for sure, he is a pure point guy who is devoted to getting his teammates involved and for that reason a lot of what he does might go unnoticed or underappreciated.
    Nike Gets Off to a Fast Start by Eric Bossi
    We'll catch more of Derrick Rose later on this week but it wasn't his night on Wednesday. He looked a little tentative on an ankle that has given him trouble for the last six months and was taken to school at times by future UNC Tar Heel Tywon Lawson.
    Nike Camp Whispers:
  • Another name has popped up in relation to the Chicago point guard, Kansas. Rumors have it Kansas is hoping to land one of either Collins and Rose from the state of Illinois.

  • Bill Cole Profile

    Peach Jam: Day One (Session 1) by Dave Telep
    Purdue head coach Matt Painter was in the stands watching Manuel Cass and Billy Cole
    Antiquawn Beckham Profile

    John Brandenburg was watched by Illinois head coach Bruce Weber. The Illini skipper was also in the gym to lay a set of eyes on Antiquawn Beckham, a guard prospect who camped at Illinois recently.

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