Not much recruiting news on the horizon, but today I want to focus on only one guy. One player is significantly more important than anyone else the staff is recruiting for the 2018 class.
I’ve talked at length about Thamba, but we are coming down to the moment of truth. Flo cut his list down to four: Baylor, Nebraska, Illinois and Virginia Tech. That is some pretty stiff competition compared to the other guys the staff recently offered.
As we all know, you have to be able to beat top level competition to get players worth having. Thamba is one of those guys.
Thamba was a guy that flew under the radar during the AAU season, and now he is really starting to shine as a high-level player. He is a three-star if you’re big into star rankings, but from the film I’ve seen, he deserves to be a four-star. He may even end up there by the end of the high school season.
Flo would be a huge get for the staff, judging by the size on Illinois’ current roster.
Recent Brad Underwood recruit (and current freshman forward) Greg Eboigbodin has been thrust into the rotation out of necessity (i.e. Leron Black injury, foul trouble), and he has had to pick up significant minutes. The Illini can use a big in the 2018 class.
Not to mention the complete lack of a shot-blocking presence, a need Thamba would immediately fill.
With him cutting his list down to four, it doesn’t seem like it’ll be long before his decision is made. It’s always hard to land a guy when the pickings get slim like they are now. When a lot of teams are frantically searching for a big man, that desperation manifests itself into a high-pressure recruiting battle.
If Illinois gets this one, they are going to be well off for the future — or at least more well off than with only Ayo Dosunmu currently in this year’s class.
Once the 2018 class arrives, you will be looking at Leron Black and Michael Finke both as seniors.
The recruiting battles for E.J. Lidell and Francis Okoro could both end up being answers to this problem as well. Those are guys that would have to come in and play as freshman in 2019 if you don’t add any size now.
Thamba gives this roster something it greatly needs — size.
I think, as Illini fans, we’ve all had our fair share of holding our breathe. There will be more news on Thamba going forward, and this is a very winnable battle for Underwood. It’s also a victory that would go a long way in helping balance a guard-heavy roster.