Kline on Black: 'This would be a huge get'
Ask Alex Kline about a top recruit and chances are he's seen them play.
Enter Leron Black, a top priority for John Groce and his staff.
The power forward from White Station (Tenn.) High School is set to visit Illinois this weekend.
"He is a pretty versatile combo forward who can play with his back to the basket or run the floor," said Kline, a national recruiting analyst who runs TheRecruitScoop.com. "If anything, I'd call him a stretch 4. He can make tons of acrobatic plays and is pretty athletic."
A year ago at this time, chatter existed about whether Groce could entice elite-level players to play at Illinois.
He quieted some whispers by getting Kendrick Nunn to commit on his official visit last September and holding on to Malcolm Hill after Hill had committed when Bruce Weber was still in town.
Solid pickups, but not the top-20 player that Black is in the Class of 2014.
"This would be a huge get," Kline said if Black commits to Illinois. "I don't think it would be a surprise, but if you asked this question a year ago it certainly would be. Illinois would show that not only can they recruit throughout the country, but they can get four and five-star prospects."
Kline said he understands why Groce and his staff are zeroing in on players like Black, Chicago Curie power forward Cliff Alexander and Ballard (Ky.) High School point guard Quentin Snider.
"Ultimately, if he wants to be successful in the Big Ten, Groce has to go after players like this in order to have any shot at winning," Kline said. "I commend him for this as he isn't taking the easy way out, and he wants to build Illinois back into a national contender."
The payoff is big if at least one of the trio commits to Illinois.
If they don't, not so much.
"It shows that those guys are priorities and makes them feel wanted," Kline said. "(But) if they miss on them, then they have to get in late with others."