Sure it's tough when you lose players like Julian Wright, Jon Scheyer and Shannon Brown, but the fact is - Illinois will never "clean up" the state each year. Why? Too many other factors come into play.
Sometimes kids grow up liking another school, which was the case with Jon Scheyer. Julian Wright liked the style of play that Kansas plays. Shannon Brown was a case of numbers because of former Illini guard Luther Head.
Armon Bassett is a 6-foot-2 guard out of Chatham (VA) Hargrave Military who I've had the chance to speak with a number of times. Bassett really loved the University of Illinois and made no secret that he was a big time Tracy Webster fan. For Bassett, things were going to be better at Missouri, he committed to the Tigers on August 9th. "I really liked Coach Tracy Webster. He's my guy; he's always been there for me and has kept an eye on me for a long time. But sometimes people don't understand the entire recruiting process. We as players have to look at who else a school is recruiting, who is there right now and how much playing time will be available to them," said Bassett.
"There's nothing not to like about Illinois. They have great coaches, they let their kids play, they get up and down the floor and I love the way they allow their guards to play," he added.
For each player that decides to play somewhere else, the Illinois coaching staff will find another. For example: most didn't realize that Paso Robles (CA) PG Derrick Jasper is looking very hard at the national runner-up Fighting Illini, but he is. Jasper is scheduled to visit Illinois on September 23rd.
There's no need to panic. Rumors will fly around everyday about players and how the Illinois coaches don't work hard enough. Talk to a high school or AAU coach and ask them how hard they work at getting players. You might be surprised. Sometimes players just want something different and that's not a knock on the Illini. They will get their share. Brian Carlwell, a 6-foot-10 center out of Proviso East High School was not an easy get. Currently Scout.com ranks Carlwell as the 33rd best prospect in the class of 2006. Illinois will get its share; maybe not all from the state of Illinois. Former Illini point guard Deron Williams became the highest player ever drafted from Illinois. Remember - he came from Texas. How do you think the Longhorns felt each time he took the court for Illinois? There's plenty to go around.
Plenty to Go Around
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