The initial reaction for Chicago combo guard Elijah Joiner when Iowa State head coach Steve Prohm uttered the word ‘offer’ was shock.
Iowa State assistant Daniyal Robinson had been talking to the 6-foot-3 Joiner since the first evaluation period in early April and the staff watched him again last weekend in South Carolina, but the latest recruiting development still came as a surprise.
“Iowa State, they’ve been calling me since the beginning of the last period in April. The offer came [in]… the head coach actually just called me and he was just talking about how good I played this weekend and then out of nowhere [he offered],” Joiner said. “I didn’t think it was going to come that quick. He was like, ‘Yeah, you played really good this weekend and you do have an offer from us.’ I was like, ‘What?’ He was like, ‘Yeah, I wanted to make sure you heard me. We’re offering you.’ I was actually shocked.”
Joiner’s offer list is a lengthy one, but the Iowa State offer marked the first from a Power 5 program and joined offers from the likes of DePaul, UAB, Loyola (Ill.), St. Louis and other strong mid-major programs. Joiner has drawn major interest in recent weeks from Arkansas and Butler, who continue to evaluate him.
As Joiner’s recruitment begins to pick up, schools primarily view him as an aggressive combo guard who is versatile enough to play the point. Joiner averaged nearly 11 points and three assists per game en route to Curie’s Class 4A state title last season.
“They like my leadership and the way I make sure my teammates are on the same page and the way I can score the basketball,” Joiner said of Iowa State, adding that the staff sees him as a combo guard. “[They like] the way I can be a point guard and if I need to take over a game, which I have had to do a lot in the summer this year, [schools] just like the way I get after it. I’m not really labeling myself as a position. I’m a basketball player.”
While Joiner’s offer from Iowa State is fresh, the relationship with Robinson continues to evolve after more than three months of communication.
“We’ve developed a pretty good relationship. He’s always contacting me and my family making sure things are all right here. Him being a hometown Chicago guy, he knows how rough it is here,” Joiner said. “I’ve watched them a lot over the past years and they get up and down the court and they have a very nice atmosphere.”
Joiner will play in Las Vegas next weekend in front of college coaches, including some Iowa State contingent. The Cyclones are likely to eventually get a visit, but for now Joiner is focused on the remainder of the July evaluation period.
“I haven’t decided when I’ll take my visits but I was thinking maybe August-September, around that time,” Joiner said. “I was thinking [about committing] before my senior season, but I want to make sure I’m ready. So if I’m not ready by then I’ll wait.”