CHAMPAIGN — The Illinois men’s basketball roster is nearly complete.
Three days after Benjamin Bosmans-Verdonk announced on Saturday afternoon via his Instagram account that he would play with the Illini starting in the 2019-2020 season, Illinois coach Brad Underwood made it official on Tuesday when he said Bosmans-Verdonk signed a Big Ten Tender of Financial Aid with Illinois.
"Benjamin is a young man who we feel fits our system extremely well," Underwood said in a statement. "He is a versatile player with a high IQ. He can handle it, shoots it out to the international line and he can really pass."
Along with those skills, Bosmans-Verdonk will add some length and size for the Illini in the frontcourt. The 6-foot-7, 220-pound forward from Lommel, Belgium, averaged 16 points, six rebounds and six assists this past season playing for KA Pegasus, a secondary school in Ostend, Belgium, while shooting 50 percent from the field, 38 percent from three-point range and 78 percent from the free-throw line.
Bosmans-Verdonk is the third Class of 2019 prospect that Illinois, coming off a 12-21 record last season, has signed in its latest recruiting class. He joins fellow big men Kofi Cockburn (7-0, 290) and Bernard Kouma (6-10, 240). Cockburn, a consensus four-star prospect originally from Jamaica who played his final season of high school basketball at powerhouse Oak Hill (Va.) Academy, signed with the Illini on April 24. Kouma, a forward/center originally from Chad, played last season at Our Savior Lutheran in New York.
The signing of Bosmans-Verdonk leaves one scholarship available for Underwood at the moment, with 12 of the 13 spots claimed for the upcoming season.
Aside from playing for KA Pegasus last season, Bosmans-Verdonk also has experience on the international stage. He competed for Belgium at the FIBA U16 European Championship and he was also a member of the Kon BC Gistel Oostende in the Belgian top Division I league.
Cockburn arrived on the Illinois campus last week to begin summer workouts with his new teammates. It’s unclear yet when Kouma and Bosmans-Verdonk will do the same, but the newest Illini continues an international group of players recruited to Illinois by Underwood. He joins Cockburn, Kouma, Giorgi Bezhanishvili (Georgia), Andres Feliz (Dominican Republic) and Samba Kane (Senegal), along with since-departed big men Greg Eboigbodin (Nigeria) and Matic Vesel (Slovenia), among international players that Underwood has signed at Illinois since he took the job in March 2017.
"Benjamin is an outstanding student as well," Underwood said. "He is very excited about the academic reputation we have here at the University of Illinois and being part of a tremendous school in addition to joining our program."