Illinois Basketball: Illini in the mix for top-10 2023 big man

If the Illinois basketball coaching staff is able to land this highly touted big man, the Orange and Blue will be set at nearly every position going into 2023.

In the market for another big man, the Illini are well in the mix for a class of 2023 top 10 center, Jazz Gardner. Gardner recently transferred to West Ranch High School in Valencia, CA, where he is ranked the No. 73 player in the nation and the No. 11 player in California.

Prior to transferring, Gardner attended Los Altos High School (CA), where he averaged 19.3 points, 13 rebounds, 2.8 assists, and 3.6 blocks per game.

Gardner’s dominant play has earned him 14 offers from big-name programs such as Kansas, UCLA, LSU, Houston, the Illini, and others.

Earlier this month, Gardner explained to 247Sports how the Illini coaches – Chester Frazier, especially – have remained active in the West Ranch standout’s recruitment.

“Chester Frazier recruits me from there,” Gardner said. “He checks on me and asks what I think about the school. I think it is an up and coming program with how they did last season in the tournament. I think they have done well and they keep getting guys.”

Frazier and staff were among the first to invest in Gardner’s recruitment, extending him an offer back in September 2021. Illinois coaches were reportedly spotted at one of Gardner’s recent games in Phoenix, Arizona as well.

What type of player would the Illinois basketball team be getting in Jazz Gardner?

Gardner is the perfect example of a modern-day NBA center. Possessing a 7-foot frame, his film proves he contains the ability to score from all levels of the floor, whether that’s down low, mid-range, or beyond the arc.

Gardner’s size provides him with a major advantage in the paint, allowing him to catch lobs, take on bodies, block shots, and reel in boards – averaging 13 rebounds and three blocks per game last season.

There is currently no timetable or predictions for Gardner’s decision, but the Illini seem to be aggressive in the big man’s recruitment.