Illinois Basketball: Illini express interest in PF Jabari West Jr.

The Illinois basketball coaching staff has expressed interest in a very underrated recruit.

Recruits Zone reported Sunday that Illinois is among one of ten schools who have recently contacted 2021 power forward Jabari West Jr.

West is a 6-foot-8, 200-pound power forward, currently attending Hot Springs High School, located in Hot Springs, Arkansas.  The Arkansas native currently holds five offers from Central Arkansas, East Central, Alcorn State, Oral Roberts, and Arkansas-Pine Bluff.  West has also received interest from a handful major power-five programs, including Missouri, Arkansas, Michigan, Louisville, St. John’s, and the Illini, of course.

Videos have surfaced on social media of West putting in many hours of work this offseason.  The two biggest traits that jumped out to me from the clips are his handles and athleticism.

For a 6-foot-8, 200-pound PF/C to be able dribble the ball the way he does, make flashy behind-the-back moves to the basket, and to be as athletic as he’s shown to be, is quite impressive to say the least.

Additionally, the Hot Springs PF has shown he can shoot from beyond the arc.  His jump-shot, from both midrange and beyond the arc, is another factor of his game he’s been focusing on improving this offseason.  A high quality and consistent jump-shot would be yet another impressive feat for the big man.

How would West contribute to the Illini in 2021?

Though, West would bring a quality skillset and versatility to the Illini, he would likely come off the bench or possibly even take a redshirt his freshman year.  The 6-foot-8 prospect could play either the No. 4 or No. 5 positions in head coach Brad Underwood’s offense, given his size and athletic abilities.

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West would be a quality depth piece at a position the Illini will likely need to address by the time 2021 rolls around.