The first major recruiting announcement of the Brad Underwood era is set for later this week. According to multiple reports, four-star wing Mark Smith will pick his college destination during a press conference on Wednesday night at 6:00pm CT; he’s considering the likes of Illinois, Michigan State, Ohio State, Kentucky, and Missouri.
The Mark Smith press conference 6:00 Wednesday. His coach at Edwardsville says, "Your guess is as good as mine." @IlliniMBB— Frank Cusumano (@Frank_Cusumano) April 24, 2017
Mr. Basketball winner Mark Smith will announce his college decision at 6 p.m. CT on Wednesday. #Illini https://t.co/6XxsnapvhS— Derek Piper (@DPiperScout) April 24, 2017
Smith took an unofficial trip to Champaign last Thursday, and he followed that up with an official visit to Columbus over the weekend.
The 6-foot-5 Edwardsville star claimed 2017 Illinois Mr. Basketball honors after posting an impressive stat line of 21.9 points, 8.4 assists, and 8.2 rebounds per game during his senior season.
Illinois has four remaining scholarships to use on the 2017 recruiting class, and although the current roster already has plenty of talent on the wing, Smith’s athleticism and versatility makes him a prime candidate for big minutes as a freshman.
From the outside looking in, I think Fighting Illini have plenty of reason for optimism heading into decision day. Despite some late blue blood interest, this has been an Illinois/Michigan State battle for the past several weeks now, and the Spartans’ momentum took a hit when Smith left East Lansing uncommitted.
Can the Fighting Illini seal the deal and land their first Mr. Basketball winner since Jereme Richmond in 2010? Check back here on Wednesday night.