Illini turn up the recruiting heat

Illini turn up the recruiting heat

John Groce paces the sidelines during Illinois games with a certain intensity.

A certain confidence. A certain swagger.

The approach has seemingly translated into his recruiting.

A year after missing on Demetrius Jackson despite getting in late on the McDonald's All-American point guard, Groce and his staff of Jamall Walker, Dustin Ford and Paris Parham are riding the recruiting wave.

And controlling the rollicking nature of high-level recruiting.

Consider the past 11 days.

An early morning Sunday commitment on Sept. 1 from highly-coveted combo forward Leron Black.

A Thursday evening verbal from Quentin Snider on Sept. 12, a little more than a month after Snider decommited from Louisville.

The same Louisville program that just won a national title.

Thursday's recruiting high didn't just end with Snider's commitment.

The play-making point guard, a position Groce yearns to have in his program, coming to Illinois and spurning Steve Alford's UCLA program didn't top Thursday's developments.

Cliff Alexander's tweet did.

The Chicago Curie power forward, ranked among the top five players in the Class of 2014, set social media on fire late Thursday night with this.

"Taking a official visit to U of I oct 26 #TurnUp," Alexander wrote in a tweet at 10:39 p.m.

Sorry, Tim Beckman.

Illinois hosts Michigan State for its homecoming football game at 2:30 p.m. on Oct. 26.

Almost every fan of Illinois athletics, however, will have their mind on how Alexander — who has visits planned to Kansas the weekend of Oct. 5 and Memphis two weeks later — is enjoying his time at Illinois.

Michael Finke, the first commit Groce landed in the Class of 2014, threw this in at the end of a conversation on Thursday evening discussing Snider's commitment.

Like an afterthought, although the 6-foot-9 Centennial forward would probably leap out of his seat like he was going up for a drop-step dunk if Alexander committed to Illinois.

"Hopefully we can now go get Cliff," he said. "Who knows? That'd be something."

Something is clicking when it comes to Illinois basketball recruiting.

Take a look at the rest of the Big Ten when it pertains to the Class of 2014.

Right now, Illinois has the second-best class behind Ohio State.

Indiana doesn't have a commit. Neither does Iowa, although Chicago Marian Catholic point guard Tyler Ulis could choose the Hawkeyes today.

Michigan State and Minnesota don't either while the rest of the Big Ten teams aside from Ohio State don't have jaw-dropping recruits.

Illinois does. And it's clear why: John Groce.


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