Illinois basketball head coach Brad Underwood and his staff may be close to landing their first commitment for the class of 2023.
The Illini have been hitting the recruiting trail hard this offseason – assembling the No. 6 class for 2022 and the No. 1 class for 2024 so far. They have yet to land anyone for the class of 2023, however.
This could change soon.
According to Rivals.com’s FutureCast, Illinois has a 60% chance to land 2023 three-star power forward/center Amani Hansberry. Hansberry is a 6-foot-8, 230-pound prospect attending Mount St. Joseph High School in Baltimore, Maryland.
Hansberry is currently ranked the No. 137 overall prospect and the No. 11 center for the 2023 class by Rivals. He has also racked up 20 offers from the likes of Kansas, Maryland, Tennessee, and the Illini, amongst several others.
The Baltimore product also plays for Team Durant in the Nike EYBL, where he’s been recognized as Team Durant’s top performer three times, including dropping 11 points and 15 rebounds in a winning performance over the Mac Irvin Fire. Hansberry added two blocks and two assists to top it off.
How would a Hansberry commitment benefit the Illinois basketball team?
When watching Hansberry’s tape, it felt like I was watching a grown man amongst boys. The qualities that stood out most were his physicality, size, and strength.
The three-star big man uses every inch of his large 6-foot-8, 230-pound body to his advantage down low. He isn’t afraid of putting a body on a body and converting on contested finishes despite contact.
A monster defensively, trying to score over Hansberry is a nightmare for opponents, as he is likely going to send your shot attempt to the third row of the bleachers. Hansberry is also capable of getting the State Farm Center rocking with his athleticism which allows him to catch and convert alley-oop slams – especially in transition.
One more redeeming quality of the 2023 prospect? Hansberry can shoot the three-ball in clutch moments.
With much uncertainty surrounding the future of the Illini’s frontcourt depth, Hansberry would likely make an immediate impact given the majority of his production comes inside the paint.
Following this season, senior Matthew Mayer will have graduated and junior Coleman Hawkins – who is due for a breakout season – may be headed to the professional level, potentially leaving Dain Dainja and Brandon Lieb as the lone big bodies on the 2023 roster.
If this is the case, it is almost certain Hansberry would earn the starting nod at either the No. 4 or No. 5 by game one of the 2023-24 season.
To watch Hansberry catching lobs from Skyy Clark would be an absolute dream come true for all Illini fans – or anyone who enjoys watching entertaining basketball. Hansberry took an official visit on June 29, but there is no timetable for his commitment.