Pickett requests release from Illini

Pickett requests release from Illini

Illinois' 2017 recruiting class, first put together by John Groce and now one that Brad Underwood will coach, took another hit Saturday morning with Javon Pickett asking for a release from his National Letter of Intent three days after Jeremiah Tilmon did the same.

"Thank you to the University of Illinois for supporting my family and I during my recruitment," Pickett's note posted to Twitter said. "However, after the coaching change I experienced a level of apprehension due to the relationship my family and I developed with Coach Groce. After long thoughts and prayers I have decided to ask for my release from my NLI.

"Coach Underwood has been highly supportive during this transition, however I need to ensure that as a student athlete I am putting myself in the best possible situation to succeed both as a student and athlete. During this period I would like to stress that all options remain open to include the University of Illinois. I want to thank the fans and staff of Illini nation; your support has been tremendous from the beginning."

Pickett, a consensus three-star guard, had limited scholarship offers before committing to Illinois in January 2016. Per Scout, those offers included Drake, Illinois State, Illinois-Chicago, Loyola Chicago and Tennessee State.

A 2017 News-Gazette All-State First Team selection, Pickett averaged 26.8 points, 6.9 rebounds and 3.3 assists this season for Belleville East and became the Lancers' single-season scoring leader with 723 points. That moved him past now former Illini Malcolm Hill.

Pickett, much like Tilmon did, appeared to reaffirm his commitment to Illinois last week by tweeting a photo of himself in an Illini jersey. That tweet has since been deleted.

Illinois' 2017 recruiting class — once considered the No. 11 class in the country — is now down to Florida point guard Trent Frazier and Peoria Manual guard and Illinois legacy Da'Monte Williams.

Groce, when asked on WDWS 1400-AM's "Saturday SportsTalk," about Pickett asking for his release, said he was unaware that had happened.

"Obviously, it's unfortunate," said Groce, who was introduced Thursday as Akron's new coach. "I mentioned earlier even the roster flux at all places. This time of year, it's challenging (and) it's dynamic, not just at Illinois, but other places as well. It kind of is what it is. I hate to hear that. As I told everyone there at the presser when I left (Illinois), I've got a lot of guys that I've coached that are still on that team. I care about the guys that signed and always will. I want those guys to be successful."

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illinifaningeorgia wrote on April 08, 2017 at 12:04 pm

Two down and 2 to go.  Whitman rolled the dice and lost big time.

Moonpie wrote on April 08, 2017 at 2:04 pm

UH, OH!!!!!!!!! How will Ancient Tate spin this one? With the standard, the kid wouldn't have panned out anyway malarkey? Likely.

Coach Underwood -- be careful what you wish for!!!!!!! Better get over to the Marble Mausoleum and kiss Tate's ring before he blames this on you!!!!!

Moonpie wrote on April 08, 2017 at 2:04 pm

UH, OH!!!!!!!!! How will Ancient Tate spin this one? With the standard, the kid wouldn't have panned out anyway malarkey? Likely.

Coach Underwood -- be careful what you wish for!!!!!!! Better get over to the Marble Mausoleum and kiss Tate's ring before he blames this on you!!!!!

Moonpie wrote on April 08, 2017 at 2:04 pm

UH, OH!!!!!!!!! How will Ancient Tate spin this one? With the standard, the kid wouldn't have panned out anyway malarkey? Likely.

Coach Underwood -- be careful what you wish for!!!!!!! Better get over to the Marble Mausoleum and kiss Tate's ring before he blames this on you!!!!!

Moonpie wrote on April 08, 2017 at 2:04 pm

UH, OH!!!!!!!!! How will Ancient Tate spin this one? With the standard, the kid wouldn't have panned out anyway malarkey? Likely.

Coach Underwood -- be careful what you wish for!!!!!!! Better get over to the Marble Mausoleum and kiss Tate's ring before he blames this on you!!!!!

griff507 wrote on April 08, 2017 at 3:04 pm

Hey moonie, why don't you do everybody a favor, try getting a life! One without you posting would be wonderful. Go be full of yourself somewhere else.

Believe me, nobody here will miss you if you never post again. You couldn't hack it as a reporter for the N-G, so this garbage is your only claim to shame!

zuppke wrote on April 08, 2017 at 4:04 pm

Why would anyone worry about how to spin this?  Indiana just lost a 4 star and 3 star recruit in conjunction with Crean's recent firing.  This is all part of the underbelly of college basketball.  With more than 15 major college coaches being fired or moving from one school to another at the end of this season, the concept of signed players being released and signed by other teams has become part of the fabric.  What I haven't read is whether any of coach Underwood's commits to OSU are planning to follow him?  How many readers would be upset by those actions?  Very few, I would assume (unless of course they are 2 star athletes).

Thewatcher wrote on April 08, 2017 at 7:04 pm

Are teams going to take them though?  Maybe other places have moved on since they had originally committed to the U of I.  I'm just not sure if jumping ship now is reallly going to work out for them.

 

Not that most would have had careers in sports anyways...

MasterOfTheObvious wrote on April 10, 2017 at 4:04 am

Must be the refs fault.

Or the NCAA's.

Can we blame Bruce Pearl?

Underwood is off to a great start, especially the hiring of Orlando Antigua.  The sunshine reporting from the slowly sying print arm of WDWS radio has failed to mention that Little O was fired mid-year from his head coaching job at USF in the midst of a major academic scandal. GOOGLE ANTIGUA and ACADEMIC SCANDAL.

Sounds like maybe the Illini are ready to start cutting corners in order to start winning big time.  Maybe that's why Illinois hired a Lawyer as AD.  Pretty smart as that could help reduce the legal fees once the NCAA comes calling.

#WeWillWin is a nice slogan, only, it's not happening.  Not on any Illini team. Too early to tell?  Three years ago there were 4 Big Ten titles in the spring. Now the men's golf program is down to #9, men's tennis not in the top 25, baseball has a losing record, and track is mediocre.  

The only Illini team that is winning is Softball, 26-10. OMG, it's a Mike Thomas hire.  Surely this must be a typo.

Will be interesting to see how Smith, Underwood and Fahey do next year.  and the year after, and then in year 3.

Nice D3 hire for women's basketball too. Even endorsed by the almighty Theresa Grentz, who by the way, was fired last week at Lafayette after 51 losses in 2 years.  GOOGLE GRENTZ AND FIRED Another story not reported in the WDWS Print Edition.  Funny how they can go to the former Illinois head coach to shine positive light on Whitman's experiment, only to neglect sharing with readers how she was a dismal failure in her return to coaching.