Tipoff: Top 10 priorities for next Illini class

Tipoff: Top 10 priorities for next Illini class

Official-visit season is upon the college basketball world. Our beat writer breaks down 10 recruits he'd prioritize for the next Illini class:

1. E.J. Liddell, Belleville West

Odds are the reigning Illinois Mr. Basketball winner takes home that honor two years in a row, putting him in the same company as just Jabari Parker. Recruiting nationally is fine — good players are good players — but letting a top-40, in-state talent get away isn't.

2. Drew Timme, J.J. Pearce (Texas)

The four-star forward released a Top 10 earlier this month, with Illinois in the group. No coach has recruited Timme longer than Brad Underwood, and Timme's versatility makes him perhaps the perfect fit for Underwood's system.

3. Kofi Cockburn, Oak Hill Academy (Va.)

Powerhouse back-to-the-basket centers still call the Big Ten home. That's what the Bronx, N.Y., native (via Jamaica) is. Get the ball to the 6-foot-11, 300-pound big man near the rim and watch him work.

4. Quincy Guerrier, Thetford Academy (Vt.)

Illinois' remaining open scholarship could come in handy if the 6-7 Canadian wing is interested. Guerrier, an elite athlete with a smooth three-point shooting stroke, intends to enroll mid-semester. He could help right away or redshirt.

5. Jalen Hill, Ed W. Clark (Nev.)

Hill played on a fairly stacked Las Vegas Prospects team in the EYBL alongside Julian Strawther, Jaelen House and Jaden Hardy. All that talent didn't stop Hill from being the team's leading scorer, as he averaged 17.5 points to go with 7.5 rebounds per game.

6. Tyson Etienne, Long Island Lutheran (N.Y.)

Does Illinois need another point guard? No, not necessarily given Trent Frazier, Ayo Dosunmu and Andres Feliz will still be around come the 2019-20 season. That said, don't sleep on Etienne. The fact he shot 49 percent from three at Peach Jam is certainly notable.

7. Lester Quinones, IMG Academy (Fla.)

Underwood added a pair of bigger guards in the 2018 class in Tevian Jones and Alan Griffin. Quinones, 6-5 guard, put up 15.5 points and 4.8 rebounds per game for New Heights on the UAA circuit and shot 34 percent from three-point range.

8. Emanuel Miller, La Lumiere (Ind.)

The 6-6 Canadian wing has the competitive background teams look for. Not only does he have national team experience, but Miller also held his own on the Nike EYBL circuit this spring and summer, averaging 12 points, 5.2 rebounds and 1.4 steals.

9. Jason Jitoboh, Hamilton Heights Christian (Tenn.)

Illinois' pursuit of both Cockburn and Jitoboh indicates Underwood is plenty fine with adding a more traditional big man alongside more versatile forwards. Jitoboh checks in at 6-10 and 270 pounds. How Adonis De La Rosa fares this season might be an indicator of Jitoboh's fit.

10. Kai Jones, Brewster Academy (N.H.)

The Bahamian big man played in the shadow of Nassir Little and CJ Walker last year at Orlando Christian Prep, but he blew up this summer at the NBA Global Academy and on the UAA circuit.