Welcome to “Good Morning, Illini Nation,” your daily dose of college basketball news from Illini beat writer and AP Top 25 voter Scott Richey. He’ll offer up insights every morning on Brad Underwood’s team:
Brad Underwood has made it clear he's going to recruit the world to fill out the Illinois basketball roster. The current Illini roster features players from Georgia (Giorgi Bezhanishvili), Jamaica (Kofi Cockburn), Belgium (Benjamin Bosmans-Verdonk) and Puerto Rico (Andre Curbelo and Edgar Padilla Jr.).
Recruiting the world, of course, is made easier by more and more international prospects making their way to the United States to play at least some high school hoops. Illinois is trying to tap back into the international recruiting waters again in the Class of 2021 with an offer to Finnish big man Mustapha Amzil.
Amzil, a 6-foot-10, 215-pound (big) wing, is ranked as a three-star recruit by Rivals. He also just got to the U.S. this month and will play his senior season at First Love Christian Academy in Washington, Pa. Of note, the Illini are also recruiting two of his new teammates in 2022 guard Mason Manning and 2022 forward Fray Nguimbi, who is originally from Brazzaville, Republic of Congo.
Illinois is just the latest high major program to offer Amzil. The versatile Finnish forward has other offers from Boston College, Dayton, DePaul, Georgia Tech, Kansas State, Maryland, N.C. State, Oklahoma State, Pittsburgh and St. John's.
While Amzil has yet to play in the U.S., he does have international experience. He's represented Finland in multiple FIBA events. He averaged 6.9 points and five rebounds in the 2016 FIBA U16 European Championship and 11.6 points and seven rebounds in the 2017 FIBA U16 European Championship. Amzil also played for Finland in the 2019 U18 European Championship in Greece and put up 12.4 points, 7.3 rebounds and 2.1 assists per game.