Illinois Basketball: Illini one of many to reach out to Nimari Burnett

The Illinois basketball program missed out on a local product for the class of 2020.

For a while, the Illini were involved in the recruitment of Nimari Burnett. The 6-foot-4, 190-pound guard was playing his final years of high school basketball with powerhouse Prolific Prep, but he is from Chicago, Illinois.

Even though there was strong interest from the Orange and Blue, Burnett narrowed his list down to four teams and would eventually settle on the Texas Tech Red Raiders. About 14 months later, and almost midway through the 2020-21 campaign, Burnett decided to find a new home and put his name in the transfer portal.

Despite only playing in 12 contests and averaging 5.3 points and 1.8 rebounds per game, there are numerous suitors for the talented guard. Speculation about who would be involved in the re-recruitment of Burnett has run rampant, but it looks like the puzzle might be coming into focus a letter better.

Jake Weingarten of tweeted out on Wednesday afternoon that there is a lot of interest for Burnett. The teams he mentioned that had reached out to the former Red Raiders recruit included Oregon, San Diego State, Colorado State, Vanderbilt, South Carolina, Alabama, Dayton, Missouri, Arizona State, Maryland, Wake Forest, DePaul, USC, Marquette and, yes, Illinois.

What to make of the list of teams eyeing Burnett?

The first thing I think about is who would be most likely to land Burnett. Let’s look at the four official visits he took when he was originally being recruited. Texas Tech, which he is transferring from right now. Michigan, who isn’t on the list of teams contacting him.

Then you have Alabama and Oregon. Both teams are on the list Weingarten released and both had official visits the first time around. I would peg these two teams as the leaders right now.

I am going to throw Colorado State, South Carolina, Dayton, Missouri, Arizona State, Maryland and Wake Forest out of the mix because I don’t see too many ties or reasons he would go there.

So, with Oregon and Alabama as the potential suitors, who else joins them?

I would keep San Diego State and USC alive because of the location where Burnett finished up his high school career. I would keep Vanderbilt in the mix because their head coach is Jerry Stackhouse, so the NBA experience is there with the Commodores.

You have to include DePaul, Marquette and Illinois in the running because of his ties to Chicago and their location.

If you cut the list down further, I would venture to say Oregon, Alabama, DePaul, USC and Illinois are Burnett’s top five. It is anyone’s guess beyond that. But whoever gets this kid is going to be extremely happy.