Illinois Basketball has found their future point guard. The program received some fantastic news today as they secured a verbal commitment from Jalen Coleman-Lands. The 6-3 combo guard from Indianapolis selected the Illini over UNLV after taking an official visit to Champaign this past weekend. According to 247Sports' Composite Rankings, JCL is the #33 overall recruit in the class of 2015. He's the highest rated player brought in by Coach John Groce to date.
Excited to announce that I will be attending the Univ of Illinois. Looking forward to adding banners and accomplishing my academic goals.— Jalen Coleman (@ColemanJalen) September 23, 2014
Here's a quick scouting report C/O of Eric Bossi (Rivals.com):
Coleman is a polished and complete shooting guard prospect who plays both ends of the floor. He's started to mature physically and has an ideal two guard frame with good shoulders and long arms. His specialty remains his jump shooting, but Coleman is becoming a very good mid range scorer and has gotten more explosive attacking the rim.
Coleman-Lands has the passing and ball-handling skills to be a good point guard, but he needs to improve in those areas if he wants to be great. As you'll see in highlights below, he's an absolute sharpshooter from long-range.
JCL is now the third member of Illinois' 2015 recruiting class; he joins Illinois natives Aaron Jordan and D.J. Williams, both of whom are 4-star recruits. It's early, but this trio of incoming players resembles an "improved version" of the program's 2009 class which consisted of Brandon Paul, D.J. Richardson, and Joseph Bertrand.
The addition solidifies the group as a top-20 class, but the Illini are far from done as several of their top targets are still on the board. Elijah Thomas, a 5-star center from Texas, was also in Champaign this past weekend and has stated that the Illini are now his favorite. Fellow Texas native and 5-star point guard Jawun Evans is also on the radar; Evans' mentor has stated that this announcement won't deter him from a possible commitment. Illinois has also made the cut for 4-star center Doral Moore and 5-star power forward Carlton Bragg. There's only one remaining scholarship to offer, but Groce will take any and all of these recruits if they decide to commit--he'll figure out the math when the time comes.
Looking ahead, Illinois' 2015-16 roster will be comprised of 8 former top-100 recruits; this is, of course, assuming no one leaves the program. The team's first season in the newly renovated State Farm Center could very well include a deep tournament run.
For now, though, Illinois fans can celebrate knowing that they have their Point Guard of the future. The reinforcements may be a season away, but the excitement is already here. It's shaping up to be a bright, bright future for Illinois Basketball.