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Illinois Basketball Recruiting: three-star center Barret Benson commits to Northwestern

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The Illini are running out of frontcourt options.

Mike Granse-USA TODAY Sports

Per his Twitter, three-star center Barret Benson has given a verbal commitment to Chris Collins and the Northwestern Wildcats. The 2016 big man is rated as the No. 156 overall player (No. 5 Illinois native) in 247Sports' 2016 composite rankings; he held offers from Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Iowa State, and a several other high-major programs.

Before we get into how this impacts Illinois--holy cow is Chris Collins recruiting well in Evanston. Vic Law and Bryant McIntosh in 2014, Aaron Falzon in 2015, and now Benson and Rapolas Ivanuaskas (No. 1 player in Illinois) for 2016. It's only a matter of time before the Wildcats make it to the NCAA Tournament.

I said back in February that Benson was probably the most likely to commit out of all of Illinos' targets--that was coming on the heels of a scholarship offer and an in-person visit from John Groce. For some reason, the mutual interest seemed to have subsided considerably from that point on. It may have had something to do with Benson's performance during the Spring evaluation period, but we'll probably never know for sure.

So while this doesn't appear to be too terribly surprising for the Illini, it still hurts because the team needs to add a quality post presence. Let's take a look at their current options:

2016 Illini Basketball Recruiting Board
Player State Rating Rivals 247Sports Ht Wt Offer Status
POWER FORWARDS
Tony Bradley FL 36 31 6’10 235 X Cool
Nick Ward OH 69 51 6’9 235 X Michigan St. (Verbal)
Nolan Narain IN 63 89 6’9 210 X San Diego St. (Verbal)
Tyler Cook MO 79 118 6’8 240 X Out of top 6
Considering: Florida, Virginia, Iowa St., Iowa, Mizzou, Arkansas
Nick Rakocevic IL 75 167 6’9 190 X Out of top 10
Considering: Texas, USC, Creighton, Wisconsin, Iowa, Tennessee, Indiana, UCLA, Miami, Virginia
CENTERS
Marques Bolden TX 29 20 6’10 235 X Cool
Isaac Humphries IN 28 40 7’0 245 X Cool
Joey Brunk IN 138 88 6’9 225 X Butler (Verbal)
Barret Benson IL 89 160 6’9 240 X Northwestern (Verbal)

Click here to view the rest of the Recruiting Board

I mean, I wish I could say that post player XX is at least somewhat likely to become an Illini, but that isn't the case for anyone right now. It's looking like the coaching staff will have wait until some new names pop up--that includes fifth year transfers after the upcoming season.

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