Illini make cut for top 100 big men

Illini make cut for top 100 big men

CHAMPAIGN — Illinois took a step forward in a pair of 2019 recruitments in the last 24 hours, landing in the top four for five-star center Oscar Tshiebwe and top eight for four-star forward Anthony Walker Jr.

That includes Uplift point guard Markese Jacobs, a former Kansas committ who is back on the market and received an Illinois offer Saturday.

Tshiebwe trimmed his list of eight teams to four Sunday, keeping Kentucky, West Virginia and Baylor in the mix along with the Illini. The 6-foot-9, 230-pound Kennedy Catholic (Pa.) product is ranked as high as No. 19 in the 2019 class by 247Sports — a jump of 53 spots in last week’s rankings update.

Tshiebwe, who eliminated Virginia, Ole Miss, Georgetown and Kansas in the most recent cut to his list, put up a dominant spring and summer on the adidas Gauntlet circuit. He averaged 21.3 points, 11.8 rebounds and 2.4 blocks while shooting 61 percent from the field.

Walker’s finalists — first reported by 247Sports’ Evan Daniels — also include Boston College, Kansas, Maryland, Miami, Pittsburgh, Rhode Island and VCU. The 6-8, 205-pound forward will reportedly take an official visit to Illinois starting Sept. 6 at the same time Tshiebwe will be on the Illinois campus.

Walker teamed with current Illini freshman Anthony Higgs at Perry Hall (Md.) and helped the Gators win consecutive state championships. The consensus four-star prospect, ranked as high as No. 95 in the 2019 class by Rivals, will spend his senior season at Brewster Academy in Wolfeboro, N.H. Walker averaged 14.3 points and 4.4 rebounds and shot 61 percent this year on the adidas Gauntlet circuit.