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Examining John Groce's Latest Scholarship Offer: 2015 PG Nick Noskowiak


Jonathan Daniel

John Groce offered a scholarship to 2015 PG Nick Noskowiak yesterday. Noskowiak had previously committed to Marquette before re-opening his recruiting once Buzz Williams bounced to Virginia Tech. Noskowiak can ball.




RIVALS: 4-Star - No. 61 Nationally
24/7: 4-Star - No. 47 Nationally
ESPN: 4-Star - No. 60 Nationally

Noskowiak is a true point guard, meaning he can shoot, pass, handle the ball, and do all the things necessary to run a college offense. With his recent decommit, we can expect several other power conference teams to throw their name in the hat. Hopefully, he chooses our early entry.

But...Jalen Brunson?

For Illinois, he'd be great. He is the 2015 point guard we don't have, so any reservations towards him must run through our other top recruiting target, Jalen Brunson. Brunson ranks higher than Noskowiak, and his highlight tape is more impressive. But the highlight quality is a product of the maker, not the topic. And the reservations are a product of a pipe dream--Brunson isn't leaning Illini.

Pessimistic points:

- This must mean John Groce is giving up on Jalen Brunson!

- This must mean Jalen Brunson is giving up on Illinois!

- We can't get both Jalen Brunson and Nick Noskowiak. But that's just downright nutty!

No, no, and what's the harm in two point guards for the 2015 class? Let's assume no one transfers out or in, and we're set with the team we have in place. That leaves the following backcourt breakdown for 2015, after the four seniors depart:

Jaylon Tate: Point guard (Junior in 2015)
Aaron Cosby: Combo guard (Senior in 2015)
Kendrick Nunn: Shooting guard (Junior in 2015)
Mike LaTulip: Combo guard (Senior in 2015)

That leaves the 2015 healthy but with a need for younger contributors, which would then leave 2016 with only one point guard, and 2017 as the year for the class of '15 point guards to take full reign. Undoubtedly, the class of 2015 needs a point guard.


Scholarship gridlock isn't a problem since Illinois would still have an open spot for 2016 and likely six open spots for the following season. The year in question (2015) would be filled of course, but there's no dire consequences for not signing another big man. We have big men for days already, including a hopefully improved Maverick Morgan to hold down the middle.

So, back to that pipe dream--why not two point guards for the class of 2015?

This program once had a 29-game winning streak while playing two point guards, which was fun, and John Groce's system seems ideal for that lineup as well. He looks for defensive players (read: quick, intelligent, tough) with floor vision and a willingness to shoot the ball. He also looks for versatility. For him and for most college programs, talent is talent, so let's gather as much as we can. Two top 60 point guards? Yes. Yes, of course.

Let yourself enjoy this double point guard dream. Don't tell me that we won't get Brunson, and that we definitely won't get both. Right now it's speculation April. Let's enjoy the month and go crazy with hope.

Another reason for the hesitancy and lack of excitement towards Nick Noskowiak is that we don't know the kid. He hasn't been the in-state obsession. "The recruit you know is better than the recruit you don't." "May you be half an hour in heaven before the recruit knows you're dead." You know--all the old adages.

Noskowiak is a player we can gear up for. Let that be a new adage, along with this one:

2015 Point Guards: As long as we don't get zero