CHAMPAIGN - For those wondering if John Groce would need a year or two to make Illinois basketball an attractive destination again, the coach and his staff provided an answer today.
Chicago Simeon standout Kendrick Nunn, a 6-foot-1 shooting guard, gave a verbal commitment to the Illinois coaching staff on an official visit. The senior publicly announced his intentions to attend Illinois through his Twitter account.
Nunn attended today's Illinois-Charleston Southern football game. The basketball contingent left Memorial Stadium shortly after halftime, and Nunn committed to Groce's staff after the game while at Ubben Basketball Complex. The Nunn family had been in Champaign-Urbana since Thursday.
This recruitment began when Groce was at Ohio, however. Groce and assistant Jamall Walker put in work on Nunn, hoping the Simeon product would be a breakthrough recruit in their first year recruiting for Illinois.
"I guess it was meant to be," said Melvin Nunn, his father. "Now Groce comes back to Illinois and we get reacquainted."
The commitment gives Groce his third prospect in the 2013 recruiting class. Nunn joins Belleville East swingman Malcolm Hill and Springboro (Ohio) center Maverick Morgan in the class, which can sign a letter of intent in November.
As quickly as Groce's staff made recruiting headway, however, this run is probably only beginning. Nunn's commitment was as important for perception - and recruiting other players in the 2013 class and beyond - as it was for his own ability.
"I believe Demetrius (Jackson), the point guard from (Indiana), is most likely, in the next few days, going to jump on in as well," Melvin Nunn added. "And I know a couple of other kids were waiting to see what Kendrick was going to do."