Illinois fans were already hysterical last night after four-star point guard Quentin Snider gave John Groce a verbal commitment. Twitter was buzzing after landing the play-making point guard Groce and his staff have been coveting since their arrival 18 months ago. And they were on a basketball high not seen in these parts since the 2005 Final Four.
Just when you thought things couldn’t get more exciting for the program in a single night, Cliff Alexander took to Twitter to send the fan base into a frenzy with a tweet announcing that his fifth official visit would take place in Champaign.
“Taking a official visit to U of I oct 26 #TurnUp,” the 2014 mega recruit wrote on his Twitter account (@humblekid11) a couple hours after Snider made his announcement.
The move comes as a surprise because Alexander, ranked No. 2 by ESPN, No. 3 by Scout and No. 4 by Rivals, announced four official visits and Illinois wasn’t one of them. Arizona, Kansas, Louisville and Memphis made his original list. Since then, Alexander has made an official visit to DePaul and he’s headed to Arizona this weekend.
The 6-foot-9, 240-pound forward will visit Kansas and Memphis before making his late October visit to Illinois.
Without Alexander, Groce and Co. have already put together a 2014 recruiting class that surely will be ranked among the 15 best in the country and could potentially crack the Top 10. With Alexander, Illinois would likely be among the five best classes in 2014, but we’re a long way away from that.
Snider said during his announcement Thursday that he would send a text to Alexander and get the ball rolling on recruiting the big man.
Leron Black, the four-star forward who committed earlier this month to Illinois, has been in contact with Alexander.
Regardless of how his visits go in October, the Alexander courtship is one that might not be resolved until the spring. We saw Top-5 recruits in the 2013 class, Jabari Parker and Andrew Wiggins extend their decisions until April and May, respectively, and Alexander has stated there’s a chance he could take the same approach.
If nothing else, the late-summer recruiting run Illinois is experiencing has breathed life into the program and the days of the Illini being relevant on a national stage might not be too far into the future.