LIVE! Spring signing period

LIVE! Spring signing period

Hear from Brad Underwood

The last NLI is in unless there's a rabbit to be pulled out of the recruiting hat. The Illini need a rim protector. They might have gotten one in Samba Kane. The 7-footer (that's his official height per Illinois) has the length and athleticism to give the Illinois defense a boost. And he plays above the rim offensively and not just because he's 7 feet tall.

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Tevian Jones capped off his individual workout at Ubben Basketball Complex during his visit with a between-the-legs dunk. That's the type of athleticism the 6-foot-6 wing will bring from the west coast to Illinois. Not to mention the fact he's a good shooter and played a lot of point guard during his senior season at Culver City (Calif.) that improved his ball handling skills. Positional versatility is key in Brad Underwood's system. Jones has it.

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Point guard depth was a stumbling block at Illinois in the recent past. Not so much anymore, and that's especially true now with the additoin of NJCAA All-American Andres Feliz. His abilities not only as a distributor (Northwest Florida State's all-time assists leader) but scorer (averaged 20 ppg and shot 41 percent from three-point range this past season) make him a fit in a dynamic Illini backcourt. 

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Now it's officially official. Alan Griffin had only what can be described as a dominant finish to his senior season at Archbishop Stepinac — every CHSAA title that could be won the Crusaders did win — and he ended up as the top-ranked senior in New York. That's notable because Moses Brown (Archbishop Molloy) is a five-star prospect that's UCLA bound.

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This one's official.

The first 2018 signee since Ayo Dosunmu in November is three-star big man Giorgi Bezhanishvili. The 6-foot-9 big man from The Patrick School in New Jersey (via Austria and the Republic of Georgia) will give Illinois an offensive option in the frontcourt. The skilled lefty can finish strong around the rim with either hand and do so with some authority. 

 

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Illinois hasn't sent a tweet blast yet, but pen has been put to paper on the first National Letter of Intent as the Illini's 2018 class continues to come together. First up is three-star guard Alan Griffin, who committed to Illinois in early March, blew up at the end of his senior season and stayed committed to the Illini when other programs upped their late pursuit.

The 6-foot-5 guard is an elite shooter (hit at 48 percent this past season) and will add some length and athleticism on the wing for the Illini. But it's that shooting that makes him a vital addition for Illinois given the Illini shot 33.5 percent as a team from three-point range in 2017-18.

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