Heading into last weekend's Illinois team camp, Christian Kirk knew that things were going to be a little different. The 6-foot-7 junior forward from St. Charles (Mo.) West knew that he'd be hitting the floor with a much different crew than he did the last time he played for West.
As it turns out, things went much better than the athletic finisher was expecting them to go.
"It was kind of hard because I'm the only starter back from my team," said Kirk. "We were playing really good teams, but I think it went pretty well. We played hard and it was a lot better than what I expected."
Playing on the Illinois campus, Kirk was excited about the chance to play in front of the Illinois coaches. And while he joked that he felt like the scouts and internet services were more interested in him than the coaching staff, he was able to spend some time with the Illini staff.
"They said that they are going to call me on June 15th when they can," Kirk told Inside Illini. "It's been coach Price handling my recruitment. He came up to a few open gyms this year so I've already talked to him before."
In fact, Kirk feels like he's established a pretty good relationship with Price and enjoyed his time speaking with him. He also had a brief exchange with Bruce Weber.
"I hurt my groin during the last game and we talked for a while," said Kirk of Price. "I like him, he's a real cool guy. Coach Weber said I was looking good and it was good to see me. I didn't get to talk to him much, just kind of shook his hand as I was walking by."
After seeing his high school season end without a trip to the state Final Four, Kirk feels like he's had a solid spring.
"It's been going pretty good, we just won our first tournament in a couple of years," said Kirk of his KC Pump ‘N run 16 and under group. "I think I've been doing pretty good. There's a game here and there where I'll play bad but I bounce right back. I think I'm making a name for myself."
According to Kirk, Illinois hasn't been the only program keeping tabs on him.
Still, Kirk cautions that it's way too early for him to have any favorites or think too much about his recruitment. He's more focused on whipping his new teammates into shape and developing a rapport with them before next season starts. Until then, he's just looking forward to playing this summer and seeing what happens.
"I just want to see how I do in July," said Kirk. "I'll see what comes about and then probably wait until the middle of my senior season or something like that to make a decision."