Fighting Illini basketball is facing some tough competition in the recruitment of Mark Smith, however the program remains squarely in the race as a final decision nears.
While the four-star guard continues to be contacted by programs like Kentucky, he recently told the Lexington Herald-Leader that another trip to Champaign remains a possibility.
College decision not far off for Illinois Mr. Basketball Mark Smith https://t.co/ZGysnQPTn9— Herald-Leader Sports (@KentuckySports) April 17, 2017
“I like Coach Underwood,” Smith said. “I feel like he’s going to do good things there. They said I would have the ball in my hands a lot and be able to make plays. And they’re bringing in good players.
“He talked to me about how I could fit in to his program. (He said) they’d love for me to be a part of Illinois basketball and try to change it and make history.”
There’s a lot of interesting information on Illinois’ pitch in that article, so I’d absolutely recommend checking that link out if you can spare a moment.
Smith has already taken a few unofficial visits to Illinois, so he should have an idea of what the school can offer regardless of whether or not he makes it to campus this week. Either way, the Fighting Illini staff will reportedly check in on the Edwardsville star at some point this week. Michigan State and Duke are also expected to drop by.
Hearing MSU plans to visit Mr. Basketball Mark Smith tomorrow. Duke says they're coming this week. #Illini will see him again too.— Derek Piper (@DPiperScout) April 17, 2017
Elsewhere, Illinois will have one less competitor in their recruitment of California transfer Charlie Moore. Missouri head coach Cuonzo Martin informed FanRag Sports’ Jon Rothstein that the Tigers will not reach out to the 5-foot-11 Chicago native.
“We will not be recruiting Charlie Moore,” Martin said on Monday. “I wish he could have stayed at California, but we’ve got two good guards committed here and we’re excited about each of them.”
Cuonzo Martin: Missouri will not be recruiting Charlie Moore. STORY @FanRagSports: https://t.co/3N1wOXP95h— Jon Rothstein (@JonRothstein) April 17, 2017
Moore, the 2016 Illinois Mr. Basketball award winner, originally committed to play for Martin at California. As a true-freshman, he started 34 games for the Bears and averaged 12.2 points and 3.5 assists per contest.
Lastly, the Fighting Illini hosted 2017 forward Francesco Badocchi for an official visit on Monday. The 6-foot-8 prospect is also hearing from Virginia, Boise State, Texas Tech, Rhode Island, Tulsa and Indiana State.
Updated: 2017 forward Francesco Badocchi (@frankiejones23) is on an official visit on the #Illini campus. https://t.co/BPFKdFvFQW— Derek Piper (@DPiperScout) April 17, 2017