Brad Underwood’s career in Champaign hasn’t gotten off to the best start. Following the news of Jeremiah Tilmon’s de-commitment earlier this week, three-star small forward Javon Pickett also announced he would be seeking a release from his Letter of Intent.
Pickett was the first member of the 2017 recruiting class to officially commit, way back in January of 2016. He played at the same high school as former Illini star Malcolm Hill did, and averaged about 25 points per game during his senior season. While it’s never expected for a player to request a release, Pickett and Tilmon were very close and I imagine Jeremiah’s decision to de-commit helped push Pickett in that direction too.
This leaves the Illini with two recruits for this fall’s incoming class; Trent Frazier and Da’Monte Williams. While Pickett wasn’t as highly-regarded as any of the the other three members of the class, it means that Illinois has yet another scholarship opening.
Currently 9 players projected to be on scholarship for #illini -- and that's assuming no transfers out. Underwood needs to find players.— Jeremy Werner (@JWernerScout) April 8, 2017
Using 247Sports’ Class Calculator, subtracting Tilmon and Pickett from the 2017 commits means the Illini currently have the 54th-best class in the country, a large fall from where they sat a week ago in the top ten overall.
Just as was the case with Tilmon, Pickett stressed that Illinois remained an option for him, although that seems unlikely at this point. Stay with the Champaign Room for updates on Tilmon and Pickett moving forward, and never ever tweet at recruits.