Fighting Illini football is just days away from kicking off their 2017 season. That can only mean one thing — the basketball team is preparing to host official visits.
While the Orange and Blue are beating the hell out of Ball State this Saturday, Brad Underwood and his staff will be spending time with two intriguing prospects: four-star wing Landers Nolley (GA) and four-star forward Colin Castleton (FL).
Nolley is a 6-foot-7, 175-pound prospect from Fairborn, Georgia. He’s currently rated as the nation’s No. 96 overall player by 247Sports’ composite ranking; however, Scout has him slotted considerably higher at No. 57. Nolley originally released a fantastic bracket-style list of 32 teams that has since been narrowed to five finalists: Illinois, Georgia, Virginia Tech, Oklahoma State and UConn.
Nolley is on track to make his decision during the early signing period, and the Fighting Illini have been given the first opportunity to make an impression on campus. How badly does the program want him? According to an interview with Evan Daniels, Underwood is calling every single day.
“It’s up north, that’s where I lived for a year. They want me bad. I would play a lot of minutes as a freshman and the head coach calls me every day."
Nolley also shared our first glimpse of Brad Underwood’s official visit format. Thanks to a graphic that was tweeted out, we know that the trip includes items like a photo shoot, a tour of the State Farm Center and a sit-down with academic counselors.
There will be a big gap between visits if/when Nolley leaves Champaign uncommitted. The next stops on his schedule are Virginia Tech (September 29), Georgia (October 6-8), and Oklahoma State (October 13-15); a visit to UConn remains in the works.
Nolley accumulated some eye-popping numbers during his junior season at Langston Hughes. In 31 games, he averaged 24.7 points, 7.1 rebounds, 2.5 assists and 1.9 steals, while shooting 52 percent from the field and 45 percent behind the arc.
We can comfortably say that Nolley is able to hang with fellow Division-I players thanks to recent AAU performances. The explosive guard played with Nike South Beach (FL) this Summer on the EYBL circuit, and he averaged 13.4 points and 3.8 rebounds per game against the top high school players in the nation.
With a commitment, Nolley would become the first member of Illinois’ 2018 recruiting class. Pending inevitable roster turnover next offseason, Brad Underwood has three available scholarships to use this cycle.
Stay tuned for a closer look at Colin Castleton later this week! In the meantime, give us your prediction for the weekend.
Will Illinois secure a commitment from Landers Nolley during this visit?
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