The Fighting Illini made an initial cut for one of the top prospects in the country on Monday night. According to his AAU team's Twitter account, five-star point guard Paul Scruggs (IN) has narrowed his list to Illinois, Indiana, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisville, Ohio State, Michigan State, and Xavier. The 6-foot-4, 200-pound prospect is the No. 27 overall player in 247Sports' composite rankings.
'17 PG Paul Scruggs sends thanks to all Schools. Looking more at 8 potentials for now- Illini, IU, KU, UK, Lville, Ohio St, Mich St, Xavier.— UA Indy Hoosiers (@Indyhoosiersbba) May 23, 2016
Scruggs plays AAU ball for the Indy Hoosiers on the Under Armour Association, where he's averaged 13.8 points, 6.0 rebounds, 5.5 assists, 1.5 steals, and 1.0 blocks per game so far this Spring. One of his teammates is five-star forward Kris Wilkes (IN), who also holds a scholarship offer from Illinois.
Scouting Report (via Scout.com)
Scruggs is an extremely powerful and aggressive combo guard who attacks the rim on a frequent basis, drawing contact and willing his way to becoming an efficient scorer. He's also a tough defender. He'll need to improve his jump shot as his peers close the gap in strength, but the bottom line is that he's among the most punishing and effective penetrators in the 2017 class.
Strengths: Attack Mode, Strength, Toughness
Weaknesses: 3PT Range, Mid-Range, True Point Guard
Illinois is obviously a bit of an outlier in this group of schools, but their inclusion shouldn't come as surprise. Scruggs is (or at least was at some point) genuinely interested in the Fighting Illini, and he even took an unofficial visit to campus last year. The intrigue appears to have subsided in recent months, though, so you can probably chalk Scruggs up as a long shot for John Groce and company.
2017 Illinois Basketball Recruiting Class
Illinois already has a verbal commitment from four-star combo guard DaMonte Williams (IL), but the coaching staff will likely try to add another point guard to the fold. While you shouldn't have high hopes for Scruggs, make sure to keep an eye out for Trent Frazier (FL). The four-star prospect named the Illini his leader last month, and he reiterated that stance again on Monday.
Looking for more on Illinois' class-of-2017 recruiting efforts? You can click here to see a list of all the documented scholarship. You can also view an illustration of the program's future rosters right here.