July 5 Illinois basketball chat

July 5 Illinois basketball chat

Wednesday, July 5, 2017 - 12:30pm

The Illini's summer workouts are about to enter their second month. The Illinois coaching staff, meanwhile, is about to hit the road again for the July evaluation periods. Could Brad Underwood and Co. start to close the deal on some 2018 recruits? Will new names pop up on Illinois' recruiting radar? July could be just as interesting (and busy) as April. Meanwhile, former Illini Malcolm Hill and Brandon Paul are getting their shot in NBA Summer League. Could either see an NBA roster spot pan out?

Beat writer Scott Richey is chatting at 12:30 p.m. Wednesday on all things Illinois basketball. What do you want to know (not necessarily limited to basketball)?

Scott Richey wrote on July 05, 2017 at 12:07 pm
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Good afternoon everybody. It's kind of gray day here in Champaign. Or at least I think it still is. My desk at N-G headquarters doesn't exactly come with a window view. Anyway, I'll keep today's chat open for an hour, so if you stumble across this corner of the Internet and have a question about Illinois basketball, Illini athletics in general or something else on your mind feel free to ask.

Let's get to it ...

Anonymous User wrote on July 05, 2017 at 12:07 pm

When do you think Ayo Dosunmu will make his decision? Also, what are the chances for the Illini to land this amazing prospect?


Scott Richey wrote on July 05, 2017 at 12:07 pm
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While Ayo Dosunmu has taken several unofficial visits to some of the top contenders in his recruitment, Illinois included, I would imagine he'll get through some official visits first before he makes a decision. Maybe an early fall commitment then?

While there have been more recruits delaying their decision until the spring, I don't know that Dosunmu will follow suit. It's sort of a strange year for point guard prospects. The Class of 2018 has a bunch of them, and point guard recruitment has taken on more of a regional tact.

Six point guard ranked in the top 100 have committed so far, and four of them have done so to a program in their region. There might not be the kind of open spots Dosunmu is looking for come spring. Of course, recruiting is a fickle beast. So none of the above may hold true.

That regional bent on recruiting, however, might play in Illinois' favor. The Illini have made Dosunmu a top priority, and I'd say they have a strong case to make to add him. Of course, Illinois will have to beat out the likes of Kansas and Xavier at the moment, and I won't be surprised if Kentucky makes more of a play. 

I'll fall back on Marcus Jackson's old mantra and say it's 50-50 Dosunmu ends up with the Illini.

Dyslexia Untied wrote on July 05, 2017 at 12:07 pm

Hi Scott


Hope you had a happy 4th with good food and good company. Looking at the scholarships available for next year and the players we are generally recruiting do you see a true center taking one of those scholarships or, more likely, a 6'9" or 6'10" guy that can play that 4/5 position.



Scott Richey wrote on July 05, 2017 at 12:07 pm
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Dyslexia Untied,

I had a carefree, casual 4th, and that's fine by me. Hope your holiday was a good one, too.

You raise an intersting question about future recruiting and not just at Illinois. I honestly wonder how many "true centers" there will be moving forward. If you look at the NBA, the centers with the most value protect the rim on defense and are rim runners on offense. Their value is more about athleticism than power. If they can knock down three-pointers, then they fall into that "unicorn" category. The college game probably isn't too far behind that model.

In terms of Illinois' recruiting, Silvio De Sousa in 2018 and Kofi Cockburn in 2019 are the more physical type prospects. Those two can just about tear the rim off with their dunks. The Illini have also targeted the other type of big men in 2018 in George Conditt and Colin Castleton. From what I understand about Brad Underwood's system, if he can find a 6-foot-9 or taller player that can operate at the 4 and 5 that's what he'll try to add.


Gregg G wrote on July 05, 2017 at 12:07 pm

Is Greg Eboigbodin on campus yet and if so how has he looked so far?

Scott Richey wrote on July 05, 2017 at 12:07 pm
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Gregg G,

Greg Eboigbodin is on campus. The only players that aren't are Mark Alstork (finishing up at Wright State) and Matic Vesel (playing for U20 Slovenian national team). The word on Eboigbodin has been pretty good. He'll have some adjusting to do this season making the leap from high school to the Big Ten, but Brad Underwood said he's the best athlete on the team and he hasn't seen a 6-foot-9 guy run like Eboigbodin does. Add in a 7-4 wingspan, and that sounds pretty good for the Illini.

B-man wrote on July 05, 2017 at 1:07 pm

Hi Scott,

Once again, thanks for the chats.

Are the two bigs (the kid from Detroit and the kid from Europe) Underwood found going to be able to contribute this year and in what ways?


Scott Richey wrote on July 05, 2017 at 1:07 pm
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Thanks for the question.

Based on roster construction, Greg Eboigbodin and Matic Vesel will be asked to at least provide some contribution this season. The Illinois coaching staff went after both because the Illini needed some frontcourt depth. As far as how the two freshmen bigs can contribute is where their stories diverge a bit. 

To use an NBA comparison, I see Eboigbodin filling a similar type role Clint Capela did this past season with the Houston Rockets. While Illinois probably won't shoot as many threes as the Rockets did, guard play will be the Illini's strength. Capela dunked a lot and blocked shots for Houston this past season. In year one at Illinois I'd say Eboigbodin can probably do the same.

Vesel I'm less sure of simply because there isn't as much video or as many writeups on him out there. Most of the video I saw was him finishing around the rim, which is good. He'll need to be able to do that, but I didn't get a good read on his jump shot. That's where my intrigue lies.


Scott Richey wrote on July 05, 2017 at 1:07 pm
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Looks like that's it for today's chat. Thanks to everybody that submitted questions or followed along. The next offseason chat is next Wednesday. Same time, same place.

Until then, enjoy the week!