CHAMPAIGN — The Illinois men’s basketball recruiting board doubled in size last week with 10 new offers to Class of 2022 prospects.
And that doesn’t even take into account the nearly two dozen other junior recruits the Illini coaching staff reached out to given that opportunity on the recruiting calendar.
Phones started ringing at midnight on June 15 — and kept ringing.
Illinois’ slew of newly-offered recruits run the gamut of location, position and ranking. In-state prospects like Fenwick guard Trey Pettigrew and St. Joseph center Kyle Thomas join fellow Illinois natives AJ Casey (Tinley Park) and Jaden Schutt (Yorkville Christian) on the Illini’s board.
The Illinois coaching staff also doubled down on programs they’ve already recruited with new offers out to guys like Teays Valley from Christian School (W.Va.), power forward Jérôme Beya and the Our Saviour Lutheran (N.Y.) duo of Jaquan Sanders and Silas Sunday.
Some recruits on the rise nationally, like Dream City Christian (Ariz.) guard Ramel Lloyd Jr. and San Joaquin Memorial (Calif.) guard Joseph Hunter Jr., were also among the new offers.
“I love making calls to kids for the first time because they’re really excited,” Illinois coach Brad Underwood said in a recent ‘Illini Pella Saturday SportsTalk’ appearance on WDWS 1400-AM. “As the recruiting process goes on and starts to drag on for those kids, they’re not near as excited. They get tired of all the calls. I love that enthusiasm. I love hearing that in their voice. To me, those are really fun calls to make.”
Illinois’ 2022 recruiting board now includes 20 names. It’s a far cry from the number of offers from the Underwood era high of 68 in the Class of 2019, but that number has declined in subsequent classes. The Illini coaching staff offered 56 recruits in the 2020 class and put out 41 offers in the 2021 class to date.
The nearly dozen 2022 recruits that warranted a phone call last week featured some of the top prospects in the country in Greenhill School (Texas) five-star center Lee Dort, Bishop Miege (Kan.) five-star forward Mark Mitchell and Kimball (Texas) five star guard Arterio Morris. Those three and 18 others don’t have offers — not yet, at least — but they could be next.