With great success have come some failures, though. There have been a couple of big-time recruits who slipped through the cracks for one reason or another.
When I think of the biggest misses for Brad Underwood, the first name that comes to mind is Talen Horton-Tucker. Man, that 2018-19 team could have been really good if Illinois would have landed Horton-Tucker.
There were rumblings that Illinois could potentially land the future NBA player, but he would end up at Iowa State. With the Cyclones, he would play one season and averaged 11.8 points, 4.9 rebounds, 2.3 assists, and 1.3 steals per game. He would make the Big 12 All-Freshman team that season as well.
Even if Horton-Tucker would have departed Illinois after one season, Underwood could have replaced him with EJ Liddell from the class of 2019. Liddell was the best player in the state of Illinois and the only top 100 recruit that year.
Illinois was one of the teams in the mix for Liddell’s commitment, but he would end up picking Ohio State. Liddell would have a great three-year career with the Buckeyes. This past season, he averaged 19.4 points, 7.9 rebounds, 2.5 assists, and 2.6 blocks per game.
Both players are now trying to find their way in the NBA. They were both extremely talented college players as well. I laid out some of the success with in-state recruiting for Underwood, so it is only fair to lay out some of the misses.