The Illinois staff is definitely looking at a specific mold of player to try to compliment Ayo Dosumnu in the class of 2018. They are looking for a post player, and their primary target seems to be Florent Thamba, but the competition is heating up for him. Bryan Penn-Johnson could still be considered a target for this class in the post, but that ship seems to have sailed.
The other position group the staff wants to fill is finding a long athletic wing.
After the THT debacle the staff has been scrambling for a solution, they offered Luis Rodriguez, Keshaun Saunders and Maurice Calloo at that position. My last recruiting roundups have profiled all of the aforementioned players. The staff also offered another Wing Tevian Jones out of Culver City, California.
Tevian Jones: 6-Foot-6 Wing (Culver City)
Out of all the Wing talent the Illini have targeted since THT, Tevian Jones is the most highly touted. Jones carries Power Five offers from Nevada, SDSU, UNLV, and most recently, the Fighting Illini. Thats more high-major offers than any of the other small forwards they have offered in this class.
The main thing that Jones brings to the table in his game is his bounce. Tevian is athletic and can jump out of the gym. He is a lanky, long kid that really likes to get out and run the floor. That is more than likely what peaked Underwood’s interest.
Jones shoots the ball well, but he has a really strange release on his jumper. He likely starts with the ball too low for most college coaches’ liking. The good news is you can teach shooting form, you can’t teach high-level athleticism.
He is pretty crafty around the basket and can score from different angles using his length. He is likely not going to muscle past anyone on his way to the basket. Again, he is a player that is going to thrive in transition.
It was reported that the Illini will have an official visit with Florent Thamba, who has become a sought after target for the late signing period. Thamba took visits to Virginia Tech and to Nebraska, and it sounds like by all accounts it went well. Most official visits go pretty well. He has also unofficially visited Pittsburg and Xavier.
Illinois is going to have to battle some strong competition for this one, but he is a guy that the staff would really like to have in this class. Obviously, the roster could use a good big with the ability to protect at the rim.
We should have some exciting recruiting battles to talk about going forward, but for now, it’s early in the process, and we likely won’t see any commitments anytime soon.