It’s official — Illinois basketball has lost two members of their 2017 recruiting class.
The university confirmed on Tuesday that four-star big man Jeremiah Tilmon and three-star wing Javon Pickett have been granted releases from their national letters of intent. While both are still technically considering the Fighting Illini, this means that coaches from other programs can freely contact and recruit both prospects.
Tilmon’s release was first reported by KSDK’s Frank Cusumano. Andre McMurray, Pickett’s AAU coach, tweeted out a similar message.
Javon Pickett just got his release, And he just spoke with Western Kentucky and got his first offer!— Andre McMurray (@Coachmcmurray) April 11, 2017
As McMurray referenced in his tweet, Pickett has already been offered scholarships from Western Kentucky and Saint Louis University. From the outside looking in, it’s doubtful that the Belleville East product will receive any other high-major interest on the scale that Illinois was on.
Tilmon, on the other hand, will surely be contacted by a host of reputable programs nationwide. The Missouri Tigers are the leader in the clubhouse, and it wouldn’t be surprising to see this race end soon considering that the signing period begins on Wednesday. Other programs that might jump into the conversation include Kansas and Saint Louis, although Missouri seems most likely at this point.
Illinois’ 2017 recruiting class ranked No. 11 nationally and No. 1 in the Big Ten as recent as last week. But following these de-commitments, the Orange and Blue have plunged to No. 57 and No. 5, respectively.
On the bright side, the Fighting Illini have four available scholarships that can be used to improve their roster. Expect Brad Underwood and company to hit the recruiting trail hard these next few days in hopes of picking up some commitments. Visits with Mark Smith, Francesco Badocchi and others can be expected.