We're all still waiting around to find out what's going to happen with Ahmad Starks and his waiver request to the NCAA. As we went over in a recent #AskTCR, not even Ahmad himself knows when the NCAA is going to decide whether or not he'll be eligible for this season or forced to sit out a year.
And it's a situation Illini fans would like to see resolved because it affects the team in places other than on the court this season. As things currently sit, if Starks is forced to sit out the upcoming season, John Groce has one scholarship left to play with in the 2014 class. Michael Finke currently has one, and as we're all well aware, Groce is really hoping Cliff Alexander or Leron Black will take the available scholarship.
But there's a possible sign that an additional scholarship could open up.
According to reports Groce and the Illini have begun recruiting 2014 point guard Tyler Ulis. Ulis is not big as he checks in at 5'8, but he is a four-star prospect with offers from Michigan State, Iowa, Purdue, Northwestern and Florida just to name a few.
Still, the thinking is that Illinois' renewed interest in Ulis is because Starks will be eligible this season, which would leave the Illini with another open scholarship and the need of another ball-handler in 2014. Adding Ulis would also allow Groce and the Illini staff to once again go after the big fish regardless of position in the 2015 class, though that could still be another point guard or combo guard. God knows the Illini have a lot of potential targets, and the scholarships to offer them in 2015.
The question is whether or not the Illini can make up ground on Ulis. The feeling is Michigan State's in the lead, and I don't know whether or not the Illini can swoop in this late and take the lead here.
And if they can't there's another option out there that became available on Wednesday.
Quentin Snider is a four-star point guard out of Louisville that is currently ranked as the No. 32 overall prospect in the 2014 class using 247's composite rankings. He also committed to Louisville way back in 2011 before the Cardinals added roughly 45 more guards to the roster in recent recruiting classes, and now Snider is opening his recruitment back up.*
Should the Illini get involved with Snider? Snider's father says that his son has not talked to any other schools since committing to Louisville, and the only other offer Snider has was from Tennessee Tech. So if the Illini were interested in Snider they really wouldn't have to make up much ground.
Sure, it's possible Snider could re-commit to Louisville and stay home, but by de-committing now he's obviously not sure Louisville is the best place for him at this point.
It will be interesting to see what Groce and his staff do should Starks indeed get his waiver and open up another scholarship in 2014.
* Ironically enough, the Illini didn't really pursue Ulis while going hard after JaQuan Lyle, and then shortly after JaQuan Lyle commits to Louisville, Snider reopens his commitment and the Illini are interested in Ulis. It's a vicious cycle.