Illini keeping tabs on Noskowiak
Landing a point guard is a major emphasis for Illinois when it comes to the Class of 2015.
In-state recruit Jalen Brunson from Stevenson is the one many Illinois fans are hoping spurns other high-major offers and settles on Illinois.
But John Groce isn’t just limiting his point guard options to Brunson, a five-star talent.
Groce and his staff have looked north of the state line, up to Sun Prairie, Wis., roughly 15 miles from the Wisconsin campus in Madison.
To Nick Noskowiak, a four-star point guard recruit who Rivals.com has listed as the 61st best player in the Class of 2015.
Noskowiak initially committed to Marquette on April 30, 2013, but re-opened his recruitment more than three weeks ago on April 2, the day after Marquette hired former Duke assistant Steve Wojciehowski to replace Buzz Williams once Williams left to take the job at Virginia Tech a month ago.
Illinois coaches had evaulated him before he decommitted, according to Sun Prairie coach Jeff Boos, but didn’t pursue him much since he was committed to Marquette.
“Illinois reached out very shortly after he decommitted from Marquette,” Boos said. “They talked to him on the phone, watched him do a workout and followed up with a home visit. They had seen him play last spring and summer when they were recruiting other kids and they just fell in love with him, but they knew that since he was going to Marquette, they knew there wasn’t much they could do.”
Sun Prairie finished 18-8 this past winter, falling one win shy of the Division I state semifinals. Wisconsin has five classes of high school basketball, and Division I has the biggest schools involved. Sun Prairie boasts an enrollment of 2,030.
Noskowiak averaged 20.1 points this past season, shot 81.2 percent from the free throw line and 43 percent from the field, including 33 percent from three-point range.
“He’s kind of a combo player,” Boos said. “He plays the point for us, but I think he has kind of that ability to play the point and the off guard, which is a nice combination to have. Right now, he’s our point guard, but he’s more of a scoring point guard. Not that he doesn’t have the ability to set up others and put the ball where you want it, but that’s who he is.”
Noskowiak heads into his senior season at Sun Prairie a three-year starter and surpassed the 1,000-point mark midway through his junior season.
“He’s very, very good in transition and in the open court,” Boos said. “He can play off the dribble pretty well. He has a pretty good feel of doing some things to get in the lane and set up others as well.”
Wisconsin isn’t exactly fertile recruiting territory when it relates to Illinois.
The Illini have had two letterwinners from the state — Keston Deimling and Henry Popperfuss — but Deimling played from 1926-28 and Popperfuss from 1908-10.
Noskowiak has received offers from Illinois, Creighton, Virginia Tech and Xavier since he re-opened his recruitment, and Marquette is still a serious player for his services.
“For me, it’s a constant following up or getting a call or making sure that he’s aware of what’s happening around him,” Boos said. “They’re just touching base with me. It’s picked up, obviously, since he changed his mind-set of what he wants to do.”
Boos said from talking to Noskowiak his point likes Groce and his staff.
“Right now, it’s all these people trying to make a connection with him again,” Boos said. “Marquette is really on him still, too.”
Boos said Indiana and Michigan State have had contact with Noskowiak, but no offers have materialized from those two schools.
Aside from Illinois, no other Big Ten school has extended an offer to 6-foot-2, 170-pound prospect.
Boos said he isn’t sure when Noskowiak might make a decision of whether he chooses a new school or winds up committing again to the Golden Eagles.
“Maybe when he gets tired of everybody asking him where he’s going to go,” Boos said with a laugh. “But no, he seems like he’s going to sort it out through the spring and see where it’s at, but it could go into July or later.”