Several Class of 2020 prospects have either committed or narrowed their lists and didn’t include Illinois. As the ever-important fall recruiting period approaches, our beat writer ranks who would be his priorities:
1. Adam Miller, Morgan Park
Illinois’ pursuit of the four-star guard has stretched two coaching staffs. Maintaining the Morgan Park/Mac Irvin Fire pipeline for the legit scorer wouldn’t be a bad idea.
2. DJ Steward, Whitney Young
Again, the Illini have put in a long-term recruitment for Steward. Makes sense. Top talent. In-state. Pursue! But keeping him from a blue blood (or Texas) might be tough.
3. Ryan Kalkbrenner, Trinity Catholic (Mo.)
Frontcourt depth continues to be a concern for Illinois given Bernard Kouma’s uncertain status. Locking up the 7-foot rim protector from a friendly school would ease that.
4. Andre Curbelo, Long Island Lutheran (N.Y.)
Pairing a true point guard with a combo guard like Miller or Steward is also an Illinois priority. Curbelo, with his international experience, would be a good fit.
5. Keon Ambrose-Hylton, Andrews Osborne Acadmey (Ohio)
The addition of D-3 transfer Austin Hutcherson alleviates the absolute need for wing help, but another like Ambrose-Hylton wouldn’t hurt. Plus, he’s Canadian.
6. Hassan Diarra, Putnam Science Academy (Conn.)
Diarra gives off some Andres Feliz vibes as a stockier, physical point guard. That’s good considering he would essentially be replacing Feliz should he pick Illinois.
7. Zed Key, Long Island Lutheran (N.Y.)
A baker’s dozen high-major offers this spring and summer better illustrates Key’s appeal than his ranking. A workhorse 4? Sounds exactly like what the Illini need.
8. Luke Kasubke, Chaminade (Mo.)
St. Louis hasn’t been super fruitful on the recruiting front, but Kasubke (a 38 percent three-point shooter with a 2019 Peach Jam title) checks several boxes on the wing.
9. Marcus Watson Jr., Morgan Park
Watson broke out this spring as the EYBL assists leader, which led to top-150 player status. His ability to facilitate and run an offense has value.
10. Davion Bradford, Mehlville (Mo.)
Post depth, remember? Another 7-footer that can get up and down the court wouldn’t be a terrible thing. Bradford also makes for good (and maybe needed) Kalkbrenner insurance.