Future point guard options for Illini

Future point guard options for Illini

Tracy Abrams will run out of eligibilty after the 2014-15 season ends.

Same for Ahmad Starks.

Jaylon Tate is the only other point guard John Groce has at the moment who will play in Champaign when the 2015-16 season starts.

Finding a premier point guard who can fill all the areas Groce wants out of a player at that position, is a priority for Illinois in the Class of 2015.

Arguably the top point guard prospect in the Class of 2015 plays his high school basketball a few hours north of Champaign.

Stevenson’s Jalen Brunson, son of former Temple guard Rick Brunson, has his schools whittled down to eight, and Illinois is one of them. Along with defending NCAA champion Connecticut, Kansas, Michigan, Michigan State, Purdue, Temple and Villanova.

“There’s not too much new in the last couple weeks,” said Derek Piper, a recruitng analyst with 247sports.com. “He’s kind of kept things quiet since listing his top eight. I talked to his dad a few weeks ago, and he re-stated that the opportunity at Illinois is undeniable. It’s probably the best situation (for him) to come in and be the guy.”

Where Brunson winds up will be closely watched across the country for teams looking to land the dynamic talent.

How well Brunson meshes with the head coach is a vital part of his recruitment, Piper said.

“It’s the key over all other things,” Piper said.

If Illinois doesn’t reel in Brunson — look for a decision sometime this fall — another capable point guard is Jawun Evans from Dallas Kimball High School.

“Jawun is a great player,” Piper said. “He’s gotten some comparisons to Chris Paul. He has really great speed and quickness, and he really runs an offense well. He’s a danger in transition; maybe one of the best in transition in this 2015 class. He doesn’t shoot the ball as well as Brunson from the outside, but I know that’s one of his parts of his game that he’s really working on this summer.”

If Evans doesn’t wind up an Illini — Clemson, Texas and USC are major players — Illinois could turn to Jimmy Whitt from Columbia (Mo.) Hickman or Justin Robinson from Saint James (Md.).

Either way, the consensus is Illinois will have a point guard among its recruits in the Class of 2015, which already includes commits from Plainfield East shooting guard Aaron Jordan and Chicago Simeon wing D.J. Williams.

“I really don’t think there’s any doubt they’re going to land a point guard,” Piper said. “It just depends on what caliber of point guard. (Robinson is) a nice player, not necessarily on the level of Brunson and Evans, but if Illinois came to him and wanted him to be the guy, I think he’d be more than willing to do that.”


Login or register to post comments