CHAMPAIGN — Michael Finke was like most Illinois fans on Thursday evening.
To see what college Quentin Snider would pick.
Needless to say, the Centennial forward, who was the first Class of 2014 commit to give a verbal to John Groce, was ecstatic when he heard Snider chose Illinois.
“Man, it’s awesome,” Finke said. “Another big recruit. I can’t wait to play with him, and I can’t wait to have him get on campus.”
Neither can other Illinois supporters. Snider’s commitment gives Groce his second high-profile commit in the last two weeks after Leron Black committed Sept. 1.
The trio will have considerable notoriety when it arrives to suit up for the 2014-15 season. Finke doesn’t mind.
“We’re all just going to play to our best during our senior years,” he said. “Once we get there, we’ll have a bunch of hype also. We’re all players of attention in our area, though, so we’re used to it a little bit.”
Finke committed to Illinois nearly nine months ago. He had to wait almost eight months for another player (Black) in the Class of 2014 to join him at Illinois. Now with Snider in the mix, Finke has two possible roommates.
“When I committed, I didn’t know who would commit,” Finke said. “I definitely didn’t think Quentin would commit after he committed to Louisville. He seems like a really good point guard. I checked out a couple of his mixtapes on YouTube (on Thursday), and he attacks the whole defense it seems. He looks like a pass-first point guard looking for his teammates, but he can also step back and knock down outside shots.”
Having gone through the recruitment process with Groce and his staff, Finke isn’t surprised Snider developed a close relationship with Groce.
“He’s a great man,” Finke said of his future coach. “He cares about you. That’s the biggest thing with Coach Groce. A lot of people may ask how you’re doing but don’t really seem to care. Coach Groce actually means it. Those little things like that mean a lot. We can’t wait to play for him.”
Finke has never played against Snider on the AAU circuit and met him for the first time last weekend when Snider was at Illinois on his official visit. Finke wouldn’t mind seeing Illinois land another top player in the Class of 2014. The one big recruit Groce and his staff still are working on: Chicago Curie power forward Cliff Alexander, a top-five recruit in the Class of 2014.
“Hopefully we can now go get Cliff,” Finke said. “Who knows? That’d be something.”