It’s July – Let’s Talk Hoops Recruiting July 10, 2012
I’m back. What, you didn’t know I was gone? Thanks, “post at 6:45 pm on July 6th” thingy in the blog software. Write a bunch of T90I posts (like P90X, only lazier), head to a wedding in northern Michigan with my wife, let the auto-post thingy post one per day, and you never knew I was on vacation.
Lots of MSU fans in that area of Michigan. As such, I chose my Rose Bowl shirts for both Thursday and Friday. Many “ILLINOIS has been to the Rose Bowl in the last 10 years, and we haven’t been since 1988?” reactions. At least that’s how I was reading them. And during the wedding ceremony, the priest made a joke about how bad Michigan football has been the last five years. I both laughed AND realized he must not follow football recruiting. Treadwell to Michigan any day now. I can just sense it.
But I’m not here to talk football recruiting today, no sir. July is vacation time for football coaches. Camp season is over, training camp starts in a month, and it’s time to get away with the family. Tim Beckman tweeted yesterday that it was his anniversary. I’d imagine 94% of all football coaches have an anniversary in July.
Today, let’s talk hoops recruiting. July is when football recruiting cools down considerably (and that usually lasts until November/December), and July is when basketball recruiting picks up considerably (and it usually lasts until November/December). So July is when I shift my focus away from Josh Augusta and towards Kendrick Nunn. Of course, if Augusta wanted to verbal to Illinois tomorrow, I’d pay attention right quick. Nunn, too. And Jabari Parker, Laquon Treadwell, and Tyler Ennis. A guy can dream.
Let’s start with a look at the roster for 2013/14, and the positions those players will play:
Joe Bertrand (2/3)
Rayvonte Rice (2/3)
Tracy Abrams (1)
Nnanna Egwu (5)
Ibby Djimde (4/5)
Myke Henry (3)
Mike Shaw (4)
Devin Langford (1? 4? 2/3? Did I hear a niner in there?)
Malcolm Hill (2/3)
Maverick Morgan (5)
Looking at that, I see three needs: Another 1, a pure 2, and a 4/5 that leans a little more towards 4 with a hint of 3. In order of importance, I’d say it’s point guard first and foremost, then a hybrid big, and then a pure shooter.
Dream scenario for those three spots: Indiana PG Demetrius Jackson is the point guard, Simeon’s Kendrick Nunn is our shooter, and Jabari Parker shocks the world by claiming at his press conference “I heard Illinois needs a 4/5 with a hint of 3, so I’m on board.” Odds of all of that happening: .4%.
Another thing to consider: we might not use all three available scholarships for this class. In fact, I would say it’s likely we won’t. The team listed above will have but one senior (#JoeTales), which means we’d have only one scholarship to give out in the 2014 class if we max out this year. With players like Larry Austin, Keita Bates-Diop, and superbigs Cliff Alexander and Jahil Okefor all available in 2014, it’s hard to see us not saving a scholarship and balancing the classes a bit.
So I think we’re heading to the July camps looking for two players: a point guard to push Tracy Abrams for playing time, and a stretch 4 who can play a little wing and hit the three in a pick-and-pop scenario. Or a drive-and-kick scenario. Maybe even pop-and-lock. I am so, so very unfunny when I return from vacation.
Who are the candidates? It’s really hard to say, because this is a new staff, and July will likely be more of an evaluation mode than an “attend every game of the one guy you’re truly targeting” situation. I thought Paul Klee had a great answer to this in his chat last week:
This staff has an idea on who it will target in ’13 and ’14, but it’s still evaluating a lot of those guys. That’s why this July evaluation period – for this staff – will be a little different than most. Much of the time, July is as much about being seen as it is actually evaluating prospects. But this staff is actually in the process of learning more about some of those ’13 and ’14 prospects. “There are some guys we’d like to evaluate that maybe we didn’t have a chance to (in April),” Groce tells me. Then you’ve got the 2015 class, and the staff is only in the early stages of learning about those guys. Groce tells me there’s “a grand total of about four or five” prospects in the 2015 class that they’re comfortable with. So it’s early in the process. Hope that helps. Klee
So it’s possible, even with the 2013 guys, that we don’t know the names of the guys we’ll be bringing in. Four or five players always blow up in July – maybe we’ll chase one of them. Maybe we’ll see a point guard that we haven’t offered yet and feel that his July play warrants an offer. Maybe new assistant Paris Parham changes the game a little bit. He was the head coach at Morgan Park high school in Chicago before becoming an assistant at Illinois State, and Morgan Park just so happens to have a point guard named Kyle Davis who we might offer. Does Parham still have connections there? Are we evaluating Davis this month to see if he would fit our system? I’d think that’s likely.
All of that to say, while I’d like to think we’ve already identified our targets and are chasing a specific few (as we will for the 2014 and 2015 class), that’s just not the case yet. This is a new staff in their first July who has identified roster holes for their new system and will be chasing players to fill those roles. And some of those players will be meeting our staff for the first time this month.
Uh oh. I feel more unfunny coming on and I can’t stop it. This entire paragraph, summarized in four succinct sentences:
Hey, I just met you. And this is crazy. But here’s an offer. Champaign maybe?