Brad Underwood has added another last-minute member to his first recruiting class at Illinois. Less than a week after adding three-star forward Greg Eboigbodin to the fold, the Fighting Illini have further bolstered their front court with another commitment from European big man Matic Vesel.
The #illini will add 2017 6'10 Slovenian Matic Vesel to its class. Making that the 5th for 2017. Will be back on campus in August.— Ryan Evan (@IlliniSwami) June 13, 2017
Vesel, a native of Slovenia, had been in Champaign for an official visit this weekend. He flew back home on Monday afternoon, and he’ll rejoin the program later this Summer.
The 6-foot-9 forward participated in the 2016 FIBA U-18 European Championship with his home country, where he averaged 7.7 points and 8.7 rebounds per game. Vesel is also a member of the Slovenian U-20 national team. You can check out his entire game log from the event on FIBA’s website.
Expanding Illinois’ recruiting to Europe is an A+ move by Brad Underwood, and it falls right in line with some of his comments after taking the job.
“We’re going to turn over every stone no matter what part of the world it’s in to find the people that fit to help our basketball team. The world has caught up to us here in the States. There’s a lot of opportunities out there for those young men coming from wherever.”
I obviously don’t know too much about Vesel, but his highlight tape makes it pretty clear that he’s able to run the floor, play in the pick-and-roll, finish around the basket, and handle the ball if needed. Those are four very good things, in my opinion.
Vesel will need to bulk up upon arriving in Champaign so I doubt he’ll make much of an instant impact. Even so, he seems to be a nice addition that can develop into a great front court piece down the road.
The Fighting Illini are down to two open scholarships for the 2017-18 season, however it’s hard to see the program adding any more multi-year players this offseason. In all likelihood, the remaining openings will be rolled over the 2018 class, allowing the coaching staff to add three players in the next cycle.