The theme of John Groce's recruiting at Illinois has been failing to find a point guard; the roster he inherited, class imbalance by his predecessor, and recruiting misses have all contributed to it. However is the lack of a true floor general that big of a deal?
Generally speaking, high-major point guard prospects are the best player on their respective high school teams and are also relied upon to be the primary scoring option. In a way all prospects are becoming combo players in order to maximize their value. For Illinois fans Dee Brown is a great example because he was recruited as a lead guard, but most people remember him more as a scorer than a distributor.
With that being said, there are still two legitimate prospects still out there that Illinois can potentially sign.
Marcus Lovett | Chicago, IL (Morgan Park)
247 Composite: No. 92
Interested Schools: Illinois, St. Johns, Kansas, DePaul, San Diego State, and Tennessee
Illinois had been the perceived leader for LoVett, but St. Johns appears to have recently taken the lead, per an interview with his father. On the surface that seems pretty crazy, but it's understandable when you consider how much LoVett and his family have moved around over the last several years (currently at his fourth high school).
If the Illini can somehow land Lovett, he'd be fantastic in Groce’s dribble-drive offense; he could also apprentice behind Tracy Abrams and Jaylon Tate for a season before taking over in 2016-17.
Nick Noskowiak | Sun Prairie, WI
247 Composite: No. 78
Interested Schools: Georgia, Auburn, California, Iowa, Minnesota, Missouri, and UNLV
<blockquote class="twitter-tweet" data-partner="tweetdeck"><p>California trending in <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/Crystalball?src=hash">#Crystalball</a> 4 Nick Noskowiak. Minnesota & Virginia Tech ones to watch. Illinois not pursuing. <a href="http://t.co/uAL7pwbJyD">http://t.co/uAL7pwbJyD</a></p>— Jerry Meyer (@jerrymeyer247) <a href="https://twitter.com/jerrymeyer247/status/568525491151306752">February 19, 2015</a></blockquote>
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Illinois' game against Wisconsin this past Sunday was ugly. How about signing a guy from the Badgers' backyard and have him be our own Bronson Koenig? Nick Noskowiak could be that player.
Noskowiak decommitted from Marquette for the second time this past week and has been given a release from the national letter of intent that he signed. However there are some red flags surrounding this recruitment; without really going into the specifics, conflicting reports on the circumstances surrounding Noskowiak's recent decommitment would suggest that he'd be on a short leash should he choose Illinois.
Is this something that Groce would want to deal with after transgressions involving Darius Paul, Rayvonte Rice, and Aaron Cosby? We'll just have to wait and see. One thing is certain, though--Noskowiak could excel at Illinois and signing him this spring could allow the coaching staff to set their primary focus on a legitimate post presence.
To summarize, landing a pure point guard would be great, but it's not necessarily that big of a need for Illinois. As long as one of the guards can bring the ball up and distribute while scoring, the longstanding desire of Illinois fans will be fulfilled.