Illinois basketball gets an early jump on class of 2023 forward, Gus Yalden.
Yalden has already drawn much interest from other elite programs. On September 9, Illinois gave the talented big man an offer.
Yalden, listed at 6-foot-10, has received a lot of interest early on in his high school career. The power forward has already drawn a lot of interest, reeling in offers from schools such as Wisconsin, Rutgers, Oklahoma, and West Virginia.
— gusbus (@gusbus2023) September 3, 2020
Known as “Gus Bus” by his teammates, Yalden looks to be a primary prospect among many other major schools. Yalden is currently unranked by 247Sports and ESPN. However, Prep Hoops has him ranked as the third-best player in North Carolina for the class of 2023.
Yalden has not shown any explicit interest in one school, yet. This makes sense as he still has nearly three years to make his final decision. Yalden has moved around quite a lot as a child and grew up in Wisconsin, but played basketball in California and is now playing for IMG Academy.
The high school sophomore is already receiving glowing reviews. So where would a big man like Yalden fit in with the Illini?
It is hard to say, but with Yalden still developing and with recruiting changing every day (nonetheless, three years out), there are a couple of different scenarios I can see happening.
If we assume that Yalden stays at the power forward spot, then the only projected player to still be at Illinois at that position would be current freshman, Coleman Hawkins. Assuming Hawkins is still here, I doubt that Yalden would be starting over the, then, senior. Though not as likely because of his frame, Yalden could play beside Hawkins.
The other route that could happen is having Yalden play a role similar to Giorgi during the 2018-2019 season where Giorgi came in as a true fourth man but played as the Illini center. With his frame, Yalden could definitely act as the fifth man. The only current player at center Illinois basketball would have would be, then, senior Brandon Lieb.
Whatever the outcome and the circumstance, the Illini would be thrilled to have “Gus Bus” be part of the Illinois basketball family. We will probably have to wait at least a year before any more developments come out, but this will be one to keep an eye on as the Illini try to snag an early 2023 commit.