Illikainen Reflects on Iowa Official

Alex Illikainen ended August with an official visit to Iowa. The Brewster Academy power forward saw all the Hawkeyes had to offer and left campus impressed. He talked with HI about the stop, where Iowa stands with him and what's next in his recruitment.

Alex Illikainen set out on his official visits with a checklist of things he hoped to find in a college. Iowa was his first stop. The Hawkeyes met his needs.

"Iowa had what I wanted in a school and program. I kind of have a scale of what a good college is. The big campus was awesome. They have classy guys (players); great guys. It kind of fits in all categories to what I like."

Illikainen, a 6-foot-8, 225-pound power forward from Grand Rapids, MN arrived in Iowa City Thursday night and began his official visit on Friday. He concluded the stop on Sunday.

"It was a great visit. I loved campus as soon as I got there. The coaching staff was awesome. Just the people there are great to be around. The football game, that was incredible. That place was packed and very, very loud. I pretty much loved it all. Everything I saw, I liked. And the guys are great, good to be around and great players, also," Illikainen said.

Illikainen is scheduled to officially visit Oregon on Sept. 13. He said he will set up officials to Minnesota and Wisconsin once he settles in at Brewster Academy in New Hampshire next week. He needs to figure out flights and the best weekends to come back to the Midwest to see those schools.

"I'll probably be figuring that out pretty soon," he said.

Iowa senior guard Josh Oglesby played host to Illikainen during the weekend. The visitor didn't play pick-up with the Hawkeyes but he watched them work out twice.

"They definitely like to get out and go in transition. They were zipping the ball around passing to each other. There was good ball movement and they use all of their guys. They're great team players. They're unselfish," Illikainen said.

Academics rank high on Illikainen's wish list for a college. He toured the Tippie College of Business at Iowa.

"I walked into some classes, some big lecture halls and also some smaller classes. I loved that. I loved all of the buildings on campus. It's all pretty close together so it's easy to get everywhere. It was awesome," he said.

Iowa's basketball offerings also impressed Illikainen.

"Their practice facility is top-notch. The locker room and everything is super cool. Their arena is really cool. It's the pit style and it just seems like everyone is sitting on top of you. I saw some pictures of it packed and I watched a few games and it gets loaded in there. It'd be a great place to play in. They have everything you need," he said.

One of Illikainen's main objectives this weekend was to learn about head coach Fran McCaffery. The two of them watched film together and talked about their visions for the future.

"He's an awesome guy. Just spending two days with him I already know he's an awesome guy. He really cares about his players. He works hard to get the team prepared by scouting and all that stuff. He just gets along with everybody. I think he'd be a great guy to play for," Illikainen said.

The Hawkeyes showed well. Now, Illikainen will see how they stack up against the competition.

"I've seen a lot of schools. I've seen Nebraska and Minnesota. Iowa fit really high up there. I'm just going to go on these next visits and keep an open mind and just know that I have a great visit behind me and just see where it goes from there," he said.


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