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Hoops Crootin’ Roundup

Ayo committed, THT decides Thursday, and things are heating up.

Oklahoma State v Michigan Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images

Everybody — no matter what happens next — we’ve got Ayo.

Anything after that is just icing on the cake. That being said, who doesn’t like icing? The Illini staff had a big visit with priority wing Talen Horton-Tucker this past Saturday. I feel like Illinois has had big week after big week in recruiting lately, but you can rest easy after this Illini fans: it shouldn’t be as high stakes after this week.

You have to admit, though, we all love the chase. Otherwise, why would you even be reading this article? (Or why would I be writing it?)

Talen Horton-Tucker: (Simeon) 6-foot-5 Wing

THT had a visit with the Illini staff this past weekend and, by all accounts, it sounds like it went relatively well. Most visits do, though. Not long after the visit THT announced that he was cutting his list to three.

Horton-Tucker’s final three includes Illinois, Xavier, and Iowa State. Most of the early news I heard on this was that ISU was the favorite followed by Xavier and then Illinois was picked to finish third in this recruitment.

Since then I have heard so much conflicting news that it’s made my head spin.

The reality of the situation is this recruitment has been QUIET. I don’t think anyone but THT really knows where this one is going. This isn’t the Ayo recruitment where I can tell Illini Nation not to worry because he’s probably coming here.

Since Saturday, I have heard that Illinois made up a lot of ground and feels pretty good. I’ve also heard it’s not looking promising and that ISU is the far and away frontrunner.

Branching off of that, there has been a lot of talk about the relationship between THT and Ayo. In this regard, again, we are getting nothing but conflicting evidence.

Former head coach of both THT and Ayo, Nick Irvin, came out and said “Ain’t no friction” between the two, as was reported by recruiting analyst Jeremy Werner.

The Champaign Room’s staff has heard contradicting information. Rumors have gone as far to say if THT commits that there is a chance Dosunmu de-commits and plays elsewhere.

Various reports have stated that there has been a lot of issues between some adults around Ayo Dosunmu and THT. All of this news is definitely unsettling, especially if it means that Ayo could possibly de-commit because of it. I think if that was the case the Illini staff would be smart enough to know that if you’re choosing between Ayo and Talen the choice is unanimously Ayo.

There will be plenty of THT news later this week as his official announcement date is set for Thursday night at 6:30 p.m.

I polled TCR’s staff on its sentiments toward this recruitment, and the response was unquestionably leaning toward Talen choosing Iowa State. Just like you heard Illinois from day one in the Ayo recruitment, it’s been all Cyclones in this one. Steve Prohm has come into Illinois and snuck off into the night with Zion Griffin and George Conditt so you cant be surprised if he chooses Iowa State.

But a source close to the recruitment has given me some late confidence this could very well swing the Illini’s way. There’s also been a mix-up in THT’s recent crystal ball projections.

From what I’m told, the rift between THT and Ayo is overhyped or is at least manageable, and that same source tells me to have more confidence in Underwood landing him than we previously thought.

Prediction: ILLINOIS

Tim Finke: (Champaign Central) 6-Foot-6 Shooting Guard

Last week I peppered in a little bit about the Illini staff being in contact with Tim. It sounded like they were looking to fill a void left by Landers Nolley and Elias Valtonen for that coveted shooting guard/wing player. Myself and the rest of TCR’s staff have gotten a LOT of questions about Finke and how that recruitment has been going.

Unfortunately, all I have heard since is that the Illini staff is more cold than hot on the local shooting guard.

I think Finke makes sense for this class. He brings shooting talent to compliment Trent Frazier and would add to a class that only has one commitment.

Finke struggled quite a bit in the public circuit this summer, and he’s having a hard time making a recovery. People close to the recruitment seem to think he can prove his worth in the high school season, but that means he will likely be a guy that waits until the spring signing period. Unless a mid-major or lower level high-major really impresses him, it makes sense for him to wait this one out.

Prediction: Will wait until the spring signing period

Bryan Penn-Johnson: (Wasatch Academy) 7-foot Center

Man, would this be a sweet get or what? If this Illini staff landed BPJ, you could hear the sounds of “Jeremiah Who?” echoing down the halls at Ubben. This doesn’t sound like it’s going to happen, though.

The Illini staff has done a lot of work with Penn-Johnson by enticing him to take a visit on the way back from a trip to the West Coast. BPJ’s recruitment has had a lot of turnover, though. A lot of people thought Oregon was the favorite at first; then it was Washington; now DePaul?

That’s right I said DePaul.

How much would Illini fans love to watch him playing alongside Jalen Coleman-Lands up north? Kidding.

If you’re just putting this together, the Illini love them a kid with a hyphenated last name. Penn-Johnson hasn’t visited anyone since late September until Dave Leitao got him on campus at Depaul on Oct. 13.

Illinois seems to be lost in the mix on this one, but if they can score another visit late, BU and staff may be able to change the tides into their favor. Once again, don’t hate me for this folks, but this looks like another one that is set for a decision in the spring as well.

Predicition: Washington (unless the recruitment is stretched to the spring)