Groce's key targets in Class of 2015

Who knows how the scholarship numbers will work out.

Right now, three available scholarships are on board for Illinois coach John Groce to dispense on the Class of 2015.

The number has fluctuated since the Class of 2014 started developing last December when Michael Finke committed, and has since undergone significant changes with the transfers coming in and out of the program, along with the recent commitments from Leron Black and Quentin Snider.

The Class of 2015 is still a significant one for Groce, but perhaps not as much a concern with the influx of transfers Illinois has welcomed in since the spring.

With Rivals.com releasing its Top 150 players in the Class of 2015 last week, here’s a look at where several Illinois recruiting targets — who all have offers from Illinois — stack up in that recruiting service’s latest rankings.

4. Diamond Stone (6-10, 253), Dominican (Wis.) High School

Other offers: Arizona, Connecticut, DePaul, Georgetown, Indiana, Marquette, Maryland, Tennessee, Texas A&M, UCLA and Wisconsin   

Comment: Five-star center has slimmed down from last winter, but isn’t publicly saying what schools stand out to him.

9. Elijah Thomas (6-8, 270), Lancaster (Texas) High School

Other offers: Arizona, Baylor, California, Connecticut, Houston, Kentucky, Louisville, Massachusetts, Minnesota, Missouri, North Carolina State, Oklahoma, Oklahoma State, SMU, TCU, Texas and Texas A&M

Comment: Five-star power forward has transferred to Lancaster after spending last season at Prime Prep Academy, the charter school Deion Sanders started last year.

10. Carlton Bragg (6-8, 205), Cleveland Villa Angela-St. Joseph High School

Other offers: Akron, Cincinnati, Cleveland State, Connecticut, Dayton, DePaul, Georgetown, Indiana, Kansas, Louisville, Michigan State, Missouri, North Carolina State, Ohio State, Texas, UCLA, West Virginia and Wisconsin

Comment: Five-star power forward has seen his stock rise immensely since his unofficial visit to Illinois in June.

11. Charles Matthews (6-4, 180), Chicago St. Rita High School

Other offers: Arizona, DePaul, Kansas, Kentucky, Miami (Fla.), Michigan State, Missouri, North Carolina State, Ohio State, Providence, SMU and Wisconsin

Comment: Highest-ranked Illinois prep player, the five-star combo guard is expected to cut his list of schools down to 10 this weekend.

24. Montaque Gill-Caesar (6-5, 195), Huntington Prep (W. Va.)

Other offers: None

Comment: Four-star small forward from Toronto, who plays at one of the premier basketball prep schools in the country, has interest from Baylor, Indiana, Kentucky and Ohio State.

28. Jalen Brunson (6-0, 175), Lincolnshire (Ill.) Stevenson High School

Other offers: Connecticut, Creighton, DePaul, Oklahoma State, Purdue, SMU, Temple, Tulsa, Virginia and Xavier

Comment: The four-star talent and son of former NBA player Rick Brunson, is the premier point guard talent in Illinois in this class.

34. Jalen Coleman (6-3, 180), La Lumiere School (Ind.)

Other offers: Arizona, Cincinnati, Indiana, Memphis, Michigan, Notre Dame, Ohio State, Providence, Purdue, UCLA and Xavier

Comment: Former Indianapolis Cathedral stud, the four-star shooting guard has visited Illinois before and will now play at same prep school former Illinois commit Jalen James (who is a freshman at San Jose State now) ended his high school career at.

45. D.J. Williams (6-6, 185), Chicago Simeon

Other offers: DePaul, Florida, Kansas, Providence and SMU

Comment: After playing a bit role his first two years with Wolverines, expect the four-star Williams to see the floor more this winter.

59. Jawun Evans (6-0, 164), Kimball (Texas) High School

Other offers: College of Charleston, Cincinnati, Clemson, DePaul, Memphis, SMU, USC and VCU

Comment: Will play at third high school in three years after move from South Carolina to Dallas, but has seen his stock rise considerably after strong summer.

60. Aaron Jordan (6-4, 175), Plainfield (Ill.) East High School

Other offers: Chicago State, Creighton, Fairfield, Hampton, Illinois-Chicago, Illinois State, San Jose State, Valparaiso and Wisconsin

Comment: A four-star recruit, the pure scorer was in attendance last Saturday at the Illinois-Washington football game at Soldier Field and took an unofficial visit to Illinois last Sunday.

75. Prince Ali (6-3, 180), Weston (Fla.) Sagemont School

Other offers: Central Florida, Connecticut, Georgia, LSU, Miami (Fla.), Nebraska, Rhode Island, South Florida, Vanderbilt, VCU, Washington and West Virginia

Comment: Combo guard and four-star talent is a fan of the up-tempo offense Illinois favors, but does not plan on picking a school anytime soon.

86. Hyron Edwards (5-10, 160), East Chicago (Ind.) Central High School

Other offers: Indiana and Purdue

Comment: Can score in bunches if he needs to, four-star point guard has had Indiana and Purdue after him for some time.

And to look even further ahead, Rivals.com released its top 35 players in the Class of 2016.

Here’s who Illinois is pursuing in regards to current high school sophomores.

4. Jayson Tatum (6-7, 175), Chaminade (Mo.) Prep School

Other offers: Florida, Kansas, Kentucky, Marquette, Memphis, Missouri, North Carolina and St. Louis

Comment: Five-star from St. Louis helped Team USA’s Under-16 national team win a gold medal this summer in Uruguay during FIBA Americas U16 Championships where he averaged 10 points a game.

8. V.J. King (6-5, 195), Akron (Ohio) St. Vincent-St. Mary High School

Other offers: Charlotte, Connecticut, Iowa State, Michigan, Michigan State, North Carolina State, Ohio State, Wisconsin and West Virginia

Comment: Five-star from LeBron James’ alma mater figures to have all the major programs chasing him before his recruitment ends.

31. Caleb Swanigan (6-8, 280), Fort Wayne (Ind.) Homestead High School

Other offers: Michigan State and Tennessee

Comment: Four-star center is also drawing interest from Alabama, Indiana, Michigan, Purdue and Xavier.

Comments

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IlliniMike05 wrote on September 20, 2013 at 9:09 am

I'm gonna take an educated guess that Brunson remains seriously underrated not being even close to the top 10. I have a hard time imagining there are several point guards nationwide who have already been that productive while still having serious upside. (Not to mention, for whatever it's worth, an NBA pedigree.)


Based on actual on-court performance so far and positional value being a true point guard, I remain confused by why Matthews is so much higher ranked than Brunson. Still, with Snider in the fold, gun to my head I'd take Matthews and his endless upside for Illinois. He's not a pure point guard but he is a taller combo guard with some Evan Turner in his game.