On Tuesday May 20th, Scout.com released its newest list of the Top 100 players in the country. Illinois showed pretty well as three committed players made that list: Guard D.J. Richardson checked in at #60, Forward Tyler Griffey at #80, and Guard Brandon Paul at #95. All three players are rated with four stars.
Today, the Top 15 players in the Class of 2010 were announced, and again Illinois struck it rich having two committed players reaching such elite status: Forward Jereme Richmond and Guard Crandall Head. The two are ranked 7th and 12th respectively.
One name that didn't make the list is 2009 Guard Joseph Bertrand, who at one time was listed in the Top 75 here at Scout.com. He failed to make it this time around, but make no mistake about it, Bertrand is a great athlete and will play a major part in the success of Illinois basketball. It is possible he being left off the rankings has to do with his recent injury and his inability to play at 100% health. With his talent, and the rest of the summer ahead of him, keep an eye out for Bertrand when the rankings are updated.
After a disappointing 16-19 record this past year, the 2008-09 men's basketball team will get a major boost in the arm when guards Jamar Smith and Alex Legion join the backcourt which already features star-in-the-making point guard Demetri McCamey. With a skilled big man coming in next season, Stan Simpson, and junior college transfer Dominique Keller, the inside game should also see some improvement with returning players Mike Davis, Mike Tisdale, Bill Cole, and Richard Semrau.
Having the luxury of seeing all the incoming recruits play in person, I know Weber has done a great job of bringing in the kind of athletes it will take to put the Illini back in the mix for a Big Ten championship and a return to the NCAA tournament. That turnaround may come as early as this next season, but will certainly be just around the corner with such highly rated recruits as the ones already committed in the classes of 2009 and 2010.