Illinois offers trio of Minneapolis area teammates

Illinois offers trio of Minneapolis area teammates

CHAMPAIGN — Former Illinois coach John Groce tried to tap into a growing recruiting hub in Minnesota in the 2017 class with offers for a trio of Minneapolis area prospects. Jericho Sims (Texas), Theo John (Marquette) and McKinley Wright IV (Colorado) all went elsewhere.

Current Illini coach Brad Underwood is trying to make a similar recruiting move in the northern-most part of Big Ten territory. Illinois tripled down in that regard Monday night with offers to Minnehaha Academy teammates Jalen Suggs, Chet Holmgren and Prince Aligbe. Holmgren and Aligbe both announced their offers on Twitter. Suggs’ offer was reported by NorthstarHoops’ Ryan James.

Suggs is the big name from that group. The 6-foot-4, 185-pound point guard is a five-star recruit and ranked No. 14 nationally in the 2020 class by Rivals. He also has more than two dozen high-major offers, including at least one from each of the power six conferences.

Suggs, who is averaging 24.1 points, 6.1 assists and 4.5 rebounds this season, has led Minnehaha Academy to consecutive Class 2A state titles as a freshman and sophomore. He’s also a football state champion, as he guided SMB — a co-op of St. Paul Academy, Minnehaha Academy and The Blake School — to the Class 4A title this past November. A four-star quarterback per Rivals, Suggs has football offers from Georgia, Iowa, Iowa State, Minnesota, Nebraska and Ohio State.

Suggs has won gold medals representing Team USA at both the 2017 FIBA Americas U16 Championship and the 2018 FIBA U17 World Cup. He averaged 8.7 points and 2.7 assists during the latter.

Holmgren is ranked as the No. 45 prospect in the 2021 class by Rivals. The 6-11, 190-pound four-star center has other offers from Minnesota, Nevada, Purdue, Texas, Texas A&M and Western Kentucky. Holmgren also played with Suggs for Grassroots Sizzle on the Under Armour Association circuit last spring and summer where he averaged 7.1 points and 5.5 rebounds in seven games.

Aligbe is a Class of 2022 prospect. The 6-5, 185-pound wing, who played on the Redhawks’ state championship team last year as an eighth grader, currently has one other known offer from Western Kentucky.

The Minnehaha Academy trio make for four current Minnesota natives on Illinois’ recruiting board, with 2019 five-star forward Zeke Nnaji (Lakeville) committed to Arizona. The Illini have also offered four-star 2020 prospect Dain Dainja (Minneapolis). The 6-8, 230-pound forward put up 11.1 points and 8.5 rebounds per game last year on the UAA circuit.