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Can Illinois Basketball edge out Iowa State and New Mexico for three-star center George Conditt?

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The Corliss high school star will take an official visit to Illinois on September 15.

Illinois was the first high-major program to offer George Conditt a scholarship, and three months later, the Fighting Illini remain a top suitor as his college decision nears. Conditt, a lanky 6’10 center from Corliss high school (Chicago, IL), will begin his official visit to Champaign on September 15, providing the Orange and Blue a prime opportunity to land their first 2018 commitment.

There’s still plenty of work to be done on Illinois’ end, however, as Iowa State and New Mexico were recently named the other two finalists in this recruitment. The Cyclones are a particularly worrisome opponent due to their strong connection with Conditt’s family, which I’ll address in a moment.

But first, let’s take a quick glance at what Conditt may bring to the table in college.

Background

A consensus three-star prospect, Conditt is one of the fastest-rising players — both literally and figuratively — the state of Illinois has seen this decade. A surprise growth spurt transformed the Corliss star into a legitimate Division-I prospect, and his recent performances have propelled him into early 2018 Mr. Basketball conversations.

Some Anthony Davis comparisons have been thrown around thanks to Conditt’s rapid physical growth and Chicago backdrop. Those are clearly completely unreasonable, yet Conditt’s frame and unique skill set does offer reason for serious longterm upside.

AAU Highlights (May 2017)

Conditt’s tape suggests that he can do just about everything that’s asked of a modern day big man. His wingspan and quickness pose nightmares for opposing teams on defense, and he’ll only get better upon adding weight to his frame. Offensively, you can see that Conditt has retained skills that are more akin to that of a wing. He can be stretched out to the three-point line and he runs the floor in transition very well for his size; his post moves can use some work, but the same can be said of just about every high school prospect in the country.

Handicapping the Finalists

3. New Mexico

This is not the choice you’re looking for. Go about your business. Move along.

2. Iowa State

Conditt just completed his official visit to Ames without committing, and that’s a great sign for Brad Underwood and the Fighting Illini. Personally, I thought the Cyclones were the team to beat heading into the weekend, but that sentiment has changed somewhat in recent days. Even so, the family factor unquestionably remains in Iowa State’s favor. George Conditt Sr. played football for the Cyclones back in the 1990’s, and he was reportedly ecstatic about the scholarship offer.

“When we went up to visit [my dad] actually showed me around and showed me the whole campus. He showed me his memories and everything. It was amazing just getting to pick my dad’s brain on how his experience was at Iowa State.

Iowa State’s recent on-court results have completely blown Illinois out of the water, too. The Cyclones reached the Round of 32 and Sweet 16 in back-to-back seasons under head coach Steve Prohm, and they’ve become a perennial second place contender in the Big 12. Hilton Coliseum also looks like a very fun place to play, which can’t be said of the State Farm Center lately.

1. Illinois

My goodness, have you seen Illinois’ roster? Michael Finke will be the only player 6’10 or taller on the 2018-19 team, and he’ll actually be eligible to leave the Fighting Illini as a graduate transfer next offseason; that’s by no means a likelihood, but it’s a slim possibility nonetheless. Freshman forwards Matic Vesel and Greg Eboigbodin are projects in their own rights, and it’s far from certain that they’ll be ahead of Conditt developmentally a year from now. So the path to immediate court time is much clearer at Illinois than the other potential destinations.

Furthermore, I think Fighting Illini assistant Orlando Antigua is a big draw. Antigua had the opportunity to recruit and coach some of the nation’s top big men during his time at Kentucky, and those bonafide results are surely appealing to a post player like Conditt. The coaching staff will undoubtedly showcase detailed NBA development plans considering their recent efforts with four-star forward Colin Castleton.

Conditt has already taken an unofficial visit to Illinois this Summer, so his upcoming trip won’t be the first trek to Champaign. That’s a good thing, too, because his itinerary will probably be a bit more basketball intensive as a result.

Prediction

I think Illinois will ultimately find a way to land a verbal commitment from Conditt. I get the impression that their early scholarship established a big head start, and though the gap has been narrowed, the full-court press should change things later this month.

Which school do you think Conditt will pick? Vote in our poll question, and drop down to the comments section to share your take.

Poll

Which school will George Conditt select?

This poll is closed

  • 58%
    Illinois
    (575 votes)
  • 39%
    Iowa State
    (385 votes)
  • 1%
    New Mexico
    (17 votes)
977 votes total Vote Now