Bill Cole Was a Big Catch for Illinois

Fans talk a lot about future Illini players Demetri McCamey, Mike Tisdale and Quinton Watkins, but the sleeper in this entire class may be Peoria 6-10 Illinois native Bill Cole. Last night Cole took the time to speak with Read here for an in-depth interview with Cole.

Bill Cole stands a legit 6-10 and used to be very thin - according to those who are trying to guess what his upside will be at the University Of Illinois. Cole is a very talented individual who I think could be the sleeper in the class. "Since the season has been over I've been working out. I have my own personal trainer and I've gained 14 pounds so far; I've been at this hard and everyday. Most days I eat about 6,000 calories a day. When I get in the gym, right now it's all personal things I'm working on to get better – shooting, footwork. Just things like that so when I get to campus when we play 5-on-5 I'll be ready," said Cole.

Bo Ryan of Wisconsin is one of the nation's best coaches and has been for years. This past season Ryan had the Badgers ranked in the Top 10 for the majority of the season. He was also selected this season's Adolph Rupp Cup as the national coach of the year. What does this have to do with Cole, you ask? Many people don't know this, but the Wisconsin Badgers wanted Cole very badly and went after him with everything they had. The Badger staff saw the same things in him that Illini Coach Bruce Weber did: a very skilled big man that can shoot, block shots, pass and play defense. At one point before Cole committed to Illinois, he was Wisconsin's #1 priority. Cole did give them a good hard look but in the end it was all Illinois. "I love the State of Illinois. Illinois is an elite program. I know for a fact they have the best coach in the country in Bruce Weber and he has a great staff. I want to play for my home state and make the state and Illini fans proud. I made the right choice and I can't wait to play with my new teammates," Cole said.

Cole admits he hasn't had a lot of contact with California guard Quinton Watkins, yet has heard good things about him. "I really love the guys that're in my class. I've seen Demetri a lot and he's a player. The player that most Illinois fans will really like will be Mike. He's good; I've played against him. For a guy his size, he can run the floor. Most guys like that people think are slow - not him. He also has good footwork, he's mobile, can move, and definitely a good shot-blocker. I was glad when I found out he was going to Illinois."

June 10th will be the day Cole comes to Illinois if things work out that way. "I'll be ready and just glad to meet my new teammates," stressed Cole. Assistant Coach Wayne McClain had some ties being from Peoria, which was nice, but Cole stated it's the entire staff that recruited him and all are good guys.

Recruiting is a hot topic – not just with Illini fans, but nationwide. However, it seems like the Illini have lost a number of players for whatever reason, but Cole came for the right ones. Over the years I've had the opportunity to meet his family. I can see why Bill is the perfect gentleman he is and will succeed at Illinois and in life.

Next 2007 recruit will be Mike Tisdale of Riverton, Illinois

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