Centennial junior Michael Finke will play his college basketball at Illinois.
Finke told John Groce of his decision Wednesday afternoon while on a visit to the school.
"It just felt right," Finke said. "It's a bonus that it's just across the street."
A 6-foot-9 forward, Finke attracted several Big Ten offers after a solid summer. His stock continued to rise once his season began, Finke helping state-ranked Centennial race to an undefeated start in conference play.
Turns out Illinois' quick start helped Finke's decision.
"I watched how they played and saw how I can fit in," Finke said.
Finke is Groce's first commit in the Class of 2014.
Groce impressed the Finke family on their first meeting, his detailed approach catching the eye of both Michael and his father, Jeff, a former two-sport athlete at Illinois. Still, Jeff Finke said his son wanted to explore his options before making a decision.
Jeff Finke said he rushed his decision-making process before committing to Lou Henson's lllini.
Michael Finke is averaging 17.7 points and 6.6 rebounds for the 8-2 Chargers, who lead the Big 12.
Wisconsin, Purdue and Kansas State were among the many other schools to offer Finke.
"A lot of people thought it was going to be Illinois from the get-go," Finke said. "That was not the case at all."
Illinois coaches can't comment on Finke until he signs a letter of intent, which he can do as early as November 2013.
A tough, skilled big man with a smooth shooting stroke, Finke projects as a four-man at Illinois.
Finke is the latest in a long line of recent Centennial products to go on to Division I basketball. Two former Chargers - Rayvonte Rice and Jeff Johnson - will be at the Assembly Hall for Sunday's Eastern Kentucky-Illinois game. Other recent Centennial stars to play Division I include James Kinney (San Jose State), Josh Piper (Eastern Illinois) and former Illini Trent Meacham.
More coming on HQ