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Where would you take JaQuan Lyle during his visit to C-U on Jan. 27? Ask recruiting guru Matt Daniels, who chats at 1 p.m. Fridays. Submit questions any time.
Greetings everyone. This is Matt Daniels joining you for another weekly recruiting chat. I'll be here until 2 p.m. Feel free to submit any recruiting-related questions in the next hour and I'll do my best to answer them.
Let's get started.
Matt, when if ever are the Illini going to get on the Tyler Ulis bandwagon. Very impressive performance last night against Benet. Kid reminds me a bit of Dee, when he was that young. He's a flash with the ball, can get into the lane at will, and has great range on his shot. Kid's a natural point guard in every way. Put him on the floor with players like Maurice Hill and Austin Colbert, and watch them go.
Great question. Tough one to answer. Tyler Ulis, the 5-foot-9 point guard from Marian Catholic High School in Chicago Heights, has had a superb junior season so far. The characteristics you mention — an ability to get into the lane and a solid outside shot — are there in his game. He is quick with the ball, but maybe not that top-notch speed you might want. Then again, Steve Sobolewski from Northwestern isn't a burner by any means, and look what the Benet Academy alum did to Illinois last night.
I know the times I've talked with Ulis' coach Mike Taylor, Taylor seems puzzled, almost flabbergasted that more high-major Division I programs aren't in on him. Illinois has shown minor interest with Ulis since John Groce took over. Maybe that will pick up if he continues to develop and progress, but other schools have already spent more time working on him. Iowa, Tennessee, Oregon State and Purdue are all places he could possibly go. Like Taylor told me a few weeks ago, Ulis will play somewhere at the Division I level. It's just a matter of if coaches want to play with him or play against him. Right now, it looks like Illinois will have a better chance of playing against him than with him.
quick correction to last question. Dave Sobolewski of Northwestern. Not Steve. My apologies. My mind must already be on the upcoming weekend.
What is it going to take to get McDonald All-Americans on a consistent basis? These unranked or Top 150 recruits just aren't cutting it. What was Bill Self's secret?
Simple answer: winning.
Illinois is on the verge of having a meltdown like it did last winter. Whether it happens (or as some people are pointing out, it's already happening) will play itself out in the next two weeks.
While McDonald's All-Americans are great high school players, that doesn't mean they can instantly turn around a program. Yes, Dee Brown played a large part in the success Illinois had when he was on campus. The same isn't true for the last McDonald's All-American (Jereme Richmond) to land in Champaign-Urbana.
Speaking of the McDonald's All-American game (which will take place on April 3 at the United Center in Chicago), three Class of 2013 signees are nominated to play in the game. Forward Austin Colbert from Gill St. Bernard's School, guard Kendrick Nunn from Chicago Simeon High School and guard Malcolm Hill from Belleville East (Ill.) High School are among the hundreds of nominees from across the country for the game. While I don't think any of the three will get selected for this year's game, it shows Illinois is on the cusp of possibly landing some program-changing players.
As far as Bill Self's secret, I'm not entirely sure. The man can obviously coach and his ability to relate with young players in any part of the country is a strong point of his. Also, at the time he was at Illinois, the Big Ten Conference wasn't at the level it is now. Michigan was coming off the scandal-ridden 1990s (same thing with Minnesota) while Indiana was dealing with the fallout of Bob Knight. Michigan State and Ohio State were up there on a national level at the time Self was at Illinois while Steve Alford had a few bright moments at Iowa, but the consistency on a national level the league is displaying now wasn't there. Maybe that had something to do with Self's ability to recruit. I still think John Groce will wind up bringing top players into Illinois. It's just going to take time.
Going to wrap this up a bit early today. Big recruiting weekend for Illinois football, which lost another Class of 2013 player last night after Walled Lake Western (Mich.) High School safety Joshua Jones decommitted. Illinois is in running for one of state's better defensive tackles in Peoria Central's Josh Augusta. He is expected to decide between Illinois and Missouri at some point this weekend.
Thanks for the questions, thanks for reading and have a great weekend everyone!