Illinois Basketball: Illini receives Crystal Ball for 2022 4-star guard

It has been a while, but the Illinois basketball team has landed a Crystal Ball prediction for a player in the class of 2022.

Illinois’ 2022 class is really shaping into a solid haul despite a nearly 100-percent coaching staff turnover. Reggie Bass has been committed to the program since March 2021. A little over a week ago, the Illini landed top 100 guard Sencire Harris out of Ohio. And now we could be adding another guard to the mix in Jayden Epps.

On Saturday morning, Derek Piper of the Illini Inquirer put in a Crystal Ball prediction for Epps. He has the Illini landing the talented guard with a confidence of seven out of 10. That usually means there is a strong possibility Epps lands with the Orange and Blue. Any prediction with a confidence of seven and over usually happens.

This would be a massive get for the Illinois basketball program. Epps is a 6-foot-2, 195-pound combo guard from King’s Fork High School and resides in Suffolk, Virginia. He is rated as a four-star recruit and ranked as the No. 61 player in the class of 2022. He is also the No. 13 combo guard in the nation and the best player coming out of Virginia.

Epps is an extremely important piece to the future of Illinois basketball.

When it comes to the Epps recruitment, he isn’t a want. He is a need. Illinois needs Epps to pledge to the program.

While Epps is a top 70 player, that isn’t why he is a need. The biggest reason in my book on why Epps is a must-get for the Illini is the fact he is the future at the No. 1 guard spot.

Going into this season, Illinois has Andre Curbelo leading the way at point guard. He is one of the best point guards this program has ever seen. But there are zero backup No. 1 guards on the roster right now. That is a big program.

Epps could come into the program in 2022 and be the primary backup to Curbelo in his first year. I believe Curbelo would then depart after the 2022-23 campaign, which would leave the starting job to Epps as a sophomore.

247Sports lists Epps as a combo guard, but he has true point guard traits with the ability to shoot. He is a combo guard to the truest form. I love his court presence and decision-making. He has a great head on his shoulders. The tremendous scoring ability Epps would bring to the table is just a bonus.

Landing Epps would be another big get for the Orange and Blue. Chester Frazier would have his fingerprints on this commitment as well. Some people were worried about recruiting and if it would take a dip, but things seem to be going pretty well right now.