Klee's Corner: Recruiting Kendrick Nunn
The entire Klee's Corner publishes Sunday. For another recruiting update (Larry Austin Jr.), click here
Roughly five years ago, Jerrance Howard was giving a campus tour at the University of Kentucky. On his tour were a group of sixth-grade basketball players.
One of those kids was Kendrick Nunn.
"We've been knowing Jerrance since he showed us around the facilities (at Kentucky)," said Melvin Nunn, Kendrick's father. "We were down there for a national tournament."
Part of what has made Howard such a dynamic recruiter for Illinois is his penchant for befriending anyone that can dribble - regardless of their age. At the time it would be hard to predict Kendrick Nunn would develop into one of this state's top prospects in the Class of 2013.
But situations like these show how far a hello and handshake can go in the recruiting game. Their early relationship stuck with Nunn, a 6-1 shooting guard from Chicago Simeon. He earned a scholarship offer from Illinois in early July.
"He took that (offer) to heart because that's the No. 1 state school," Melvin Nunn said. "He knows that Illinois is big in the Big Ten. He's going to pick Illinois as one of his top five. He likes that orange. And, you know, we've known Jerrance since back then."
His father also listed offers from the ACC (Florida State, North Carolina State), Big 12 (Texas A&M), SEC (Tennessee), Pac-10 (Arizona) and Conference USA (Memphis), among others. The offer list figures to grow in August. Still, Melvin Nunn said he doesn't expect his son to make a college decision until after the July evaluation period - of 2012.
"We're going to have to be real cautious because it's going to be a big step," he said.
Along with UI recruiting targets Jabari Parker and Steve Taylor, Nunn is part of the reason Simeon will be favored to win a third straight Class 4A state title in 2011-12.
"He likes playing with Jabari," Melvin Nunn said. "That makes it a lot easier, because those two are so unselfish. They're both all about winning games, not about stats."