Alex Kline is a freshman at Syracuse studying broadcast journalism.
Away from that, the 18-year-old New Jersey native is one of the more well-connected names in the college basketball recruiting business.
Kline has his own website, TheRecruitScoop.com, that merged with Rivals.com last May, and he has covered recruiting since he was 14 years old. His Twitter handle (@TheRecruitScoop) has more than 24,000 followers.
What made him get started covering recruiting?
"Just the drama behind it makes it very interesting," Kline said with a laugh. "It's like a soap opera. It's not just about offers, interest and visits, but all the things that go on behind the scenes. I get to know some crazy things."
Kline was a team manager for the boys basketball team at The Pennington School in Pennington, N.J., and also helped manage a local AAU team in New Jersey.
"The AAU scene, it's just very unique how teams will play two or three games a day at a tournament," Kline said. "It's very crazy how it works with so many different AAU teams popping up and so many runners getting involved in AAU teams. It's a little bit less organized and difficult to cover than your typical high school game where you have a 12-man roster and six to seven guys are playing. The rosters are easy to find, and the coach is a normal guy with a normal job as opposed to being some crazy power broker or an ex-convict."
Kline said being similar to age to some of the top high school prospects helps out in finding his information.
"I can relate to the kids," he said. "It's not really a hassle because we can relate, which is enjoyable. They'll share things with me that are not related to recruiting, like girls, food and video games, all things that guys can talk about in their teenage years."
Now on to matters concerning Illinois basketball and first-year head coach John Groce.
A vivid image of Illinois basketball for most college students or high school basketball players these days is the 2004-05 team and its run to the national championship game.
Kline mentions Dee Brown, Deron Williams and James Augustine, but doesn't bring up any players since then that Illinois has had, which could pose as a key problem for some of Illinois' struggles since that team.
When schools win, players get remembered and high school recruits take notice.
When they don't win, high school recruits focus their attention on another program.
Kline thinks Groce landing Chicago Simeon High School senior guard Kendrick Nunn is a good step towards rebuilding the program from a recruit's perspective.
"They have a good 2013 Class going, even with swinging and missing on so many guys," Kline said. "It seemed like DePaul and Marquette, among others, were making a real good run at (Nunn). I think that's a good thing considering all the guys coming out of the Simeon program. You've got to get a good mix of your local, in-state guys who can show the rest of your recruits that they stayed local and here's how they did. A guy from Florida or a guy from New York then might say, 'Yeah, I made a risky move going to Illinois, but everything worked out.'"
And no, Illinois fans, Kline doesn't foresee a point guard out there in the Class of 2013 that can come in and ignite the program right away.
"There's so many point guards who just went off the board," Kline said. "It's really tough. I wish I knew, but either they're a level behind, like a Dayshon Smith who (Illinois offered, but) ended up going to Dayton. You obviously want to get someone who can flourish there, stay four years and really progress."
One factor in Illinois' favor is it plays in the Big Ten Conference.
It can also be a disadvantage, Kline said, since many of the league's schools, like Michigan State, Michigan, Ohio State, Indiana, Purdue and Wisconsin, among others, are all going after players that Illinois would be interested in, too.
That said, Kline is in favor of Groce trying to bring in out-of-state players in recruiting areas Illinois hasn't necessarily tapped in the past.
"It is an attractive place," Kline said of Illinois. "It definitely has a lot of appeal to it. Obviously it's not DePaul being right near Chicago, but Champaign's a great place as well. I think it's definitely smart of them to go after different types of kids in different parts of the country."
Like Dave Telep of ESPN said last month, Kline agrees that the start of the regular season will help Groce's recruiting efforts. Prospects can start to see for themselves what Illinois basketball will look like in a new regime.
"It's like that with any school," Kline said. "If Kentucky gets off to a rough start this year, some people are going to question them. The same goes for Illinois, obviously. Coach Groce has an advantage and disadvantage. He comes in with the swagger from Ohio, and now he has a lot to prove. The disadvantage is he's got to rebuild the program. It's a great program, but it's going to be tough in the Big Ten."