Yesterday was signing day in the college basketball world, and Illinois basketball coach John Groce was able to get five new guys to sign on the dotted line. Welcome to the Illini Austin Colbert, Malcolm Hill, Maverick Morgan, Kendrick Nunn and Jaylon Tate.
Even though many of these guys gave verbal commits a long time ago (Malcolm Hill committed to Bruce Weber and kept his word moving forward with Groce), it’s still really exciting when the big day arrives and we know for SURE that they’ll be suiting up in orange and blue.
Rivals lists the class as the No. 10 in the nation, but the other sites weren’t quite as generous: Scout ranks the class No. 22 and ESPN lists it as 23. Regardless of which list you’re looking at, Groce should feel pretty great about a top 25 class across the board.
“One of the top goals we had in this first year here was to sign a five-player class that fits our needs at every position, and I couldn’t be more pleased with our results,” said Groce. “These are five outstanding young men who have tremendous character, come from great families, and of course excel on the basketball floor.”
The Scoop on the Recruits
Colbert, who just gave a verbal commit earlier this week, is a 6-9, athletic forward from Gladstone, N.J. He attends Gill St. Bernard’s High School, the No. 25-ranked team in the country according to a Preseason poll by MaxPreps.
Hill, the sole recruit that stuck around after Weber left, is a 6-5 wing from Belleville, Ill. Another top-100 recruit, he was a first-team Associated Press all-state selection last season. Hill averaged 21.3 points as a junior at Belleville East High School, setting the school’s single-season scoring record with 666 points.
Morgan was the first big get for Groce back in June. The 6-10 center is from Springboro, Ohio (remember, Groce came from Ohio…). The three-star recruit averaged 21.3 points, 9.6 rebounds and 3.5 blocked shots as a junior at Springboro High School, earning special mention All-Ohio accolades.
Nunn is a 6-3 guard from Chicago who has been a part of three straight state championship teams at Simeon High School. He is listed many places as the No. 2 player in the state of Illinois, and earned All-State honors after averaging 15.1 points as a junior. Nunn also was a member of USA Basketball team that won gold at the FIBA U17 World Championships in Lithuania in July. Nunn is on the same team as highly-touted recruit Jabari Parker, who didn’t sign anywhere yesterday.
Tate is a 6-2 point guard from Chicago who teamed with Nunn to help lead Simeon to the IHSA state title last season. The three-star recruit committed to Illinois just in early October. Since we’re in desperate need of a PG to back up Tracy Abrams, I hope Tate is up for the challenge!
The Illini basketball team is currently in Hawaii, gearing up for the Maui Invitational, which begins tomorrow night against Hawaii.