Less than a month away from the Orange and Blue Scrimmage, the Illinois Fighting Illini basketball program continues to work for this season and beyond, with the coaching staff on a recruiting whirlwind during the last couple of weeks, freshmen Meyers Leonard and Jereme Richmond further getting acclimated to campus, and center Mike Tisdale recently celebrating his 21st birthday prior to his senior campaign.
CURRENT ILLINI PLAYERS
#12 Meyers Leonard, Freshman Center
Learn more about heralded Illini freshman center Meyers Leonard, including his arduous journey to Champaign-Urbana.
#22 Jereme Richmond, Freshman Forward
The headline recruit in Illinois’ Class of 2010 haul, freshman Jereme Richmond has been a pleasant surprise in terms of his attitude since arriving on campus after an occasionally stormy and controversial high school playing career at North Shore Country Day School in Winnetka and Waukegan High School.
#32 Demetri McCamey, Senior Point Guard
Former Duke point guard and current ESPN personality Jay Williams had McCamey as the 8th best point guard in college basketball heading into the 2010-2011 season, ahead of Butler’s Shelvin Mack (#9) but behind Duke freshman Kyrie Irving (#2) and Kentucky freshman Brandon Knight (#5). Williams had Michigan State senior Kalin Lucas as the top point guard in college hoops.
#54 Mike Tisdale, Senior Center
Belated birthday wishes to Tisdale, who celebrated his 21st last Wednesday.
ILLINI COACHING AND RECRUITING NEWS
For the second week in a row, I am going to combine these two sections, as the Illini staff has been very, very busy recruiting. Last week, Illinois had in-home visits with Rock Island’s Chasson Randle and De La Salle’s Mike Shaw, with both high school seniors seriously considering Illini scholarship offers. The Illini have also been keeping tabs on many, many high school juniors, sophomores and freshmen.
Rock Island’s Chasson Randle
Considering Illinois, Purdue and Stanford, Randle met with the Illini coaches early last week, with the meeting reportedly going well. On Wednesday, Purdue met at the home of Randle, who is scheduled to visit all three schools before announcing his decision. Randle’s official visit to Illinois will be on the weekend of October 15th, which is the date of the Illini basketball orange-and-blue scrimmage.
Chicago De La Salle’s Mike Shaw
Considering Illinois, De Paul, Marquette and West Virginia, Shaw had a home visit with the Illini on Thursday, in addition to meeting with the other schools listed above. When considering that Shaw is getting recruited by three Big East schools and one Big Ten school, I would expect him not to end up at Illinois, despite the tireless efforts of the Illinois coaching staff.
Cedar Rapids (Iowa) Washington’s Josh Oglesby
In addition to Randle and Shaw, Illinois also has a scholarship offer out to senior prep guard Josh Oglesby, who recently visited Iowa and was at Minnesota this weekend. Oglesby will visit Arizona State and Illinois during the course of the next few weekends.
Orr High School’s Mycheal Henry
For the class of 2011, Illinois has verbals from Mount Carmel’s Tracey Abrams, St. Ignatius’ Nnanna Egwu and Orr’s Mycheal Henry, who will be on campus for his official visit on October 23rd during the Indiana-Illinois football game. The News Gazette’s Paul Klee is of the opinion that the Illini will try to get Mike Shaw down for this visit as well, as he is good friends with Henry.
Other Recruits – Basil Smotherman, DeJuan Marrero, Larry Austin, Jabari Parker and Steve Taylor
While Illini fans are wondering what will happen with Shaw, Randle and Oglesby, the Illinois coaching staff also has its eyes on the future, making inroads with many younger high school players during a busy week that included hosting and offering a scholarship to Indiana’s Basil Smotherman, watching DeJuan Marrero play, and traveling to Springfield to watch freshman Larry Austin work out.
Of course, the Illini also have their eyes on the hotbed of talent that is Chicago’s Simeon high school, with sophomore Jabari Parker listing Illinois in his top five and junior Steve Taylor starting to emerge as a player.
→ ON THE ILLINI RADAR (STEVE TAYLOR)
Whitney Young Forward Sam Thompson
This just in, Thompson has just committed today to Ohio State. The Illini were recruiting Thompson early but went another direction after getting a verbal commitment from Mycheal Henry.
OTHER ILLINI BASKETBALL TEAM NEWS
With so much recruiting going on, I surely missed something that was probably covered below in the News Gazette’s weekly chat.
FoxSports.com’s Jeff Goodman included the late December Braggin’ Rights contest between Missouri and Illinois as a must-watch, non-conference game this season.
Mark Tupper of the Herald Review does an admirable job of putting the recent Bruce Pearl controversy into perspective.
FORMER ILLINI PLAYER NEWS
#31 Jamar Smith
After playing his first two seasons at Illinois before getting dismissed and then starring at Division-II Southern Indiana, Jamar Smith has earned a training-camp invite from the Boston Celtics. Smith played with the Minnesota Timberwolves during the NBA Summer League.
BIG TEN/COLLEGE BASKETBALL NEWS
Mateen Cleaves, one of my favorite Big Ten and college basketball players of all time, shares his thoughts on the upcoming Big Ten season.
I still have to wrap up the Illinois basketball summer school series, with Brandon Paul and Tyler Griffey remaining.
Hopefully, that will be done before October 15th, though time has been tight lately.
Anyways, have a good week.
Until tomorrow and the NIU-UI football recap.
Topics: Basil Smotherman, Basketball, Brandon Knight, Bruce Pearl, Bruce Weber, Chasson Randle, DeJuan Marrero, Demetri McCamey, Illini Basketball, Illinois Basketball, Illinois Fighting Illini Basketball, Jabari Parker, Jamar Smith, Jay Williams, Jeff Goodman, Jereme Richmond, Josh Oglesby, Kalin Lucas, Kyrie Irving, Larry Austin, Macari Brooks, Mark Tupper, Mateen Cleaves, Meyers Leonard, Mike Davis, Mike Shaw, Mike Tisdale, Mycheal Henry, Nnanna Egwu, Paul Klee, Shelvin Mack, Steve Taylor, Tracey Abrams