The Illini offered Greg Eboigbodin after a relatively quiet recruitment. Once Chin Coleman joined Brad Underwood’s coaching staff, Eboigbodin decommitted from UIC and promptly signed with the Illini.
Ebo has only been playing basketball competitively for a few years since moving to the States from Nigeria. That being said, he showed plenty of promise in high school, posting averages of 14 points and 14 rebounds as a senior, but how would his game translate to the high-major level?
Spicy G had a productive, above-average first year, getting some experience under his belt, grabbing a few starts toward the end of the season and even posting a career-high 10 points on a perfect 5-of-5 shooting against Michigan.
But, like every freshman, there were some growing pains, and those pains came in the form of fouls for Eboigbodin. At times during conference play, it was hard to keep him on the floor because of foul trouble. However, he showed flashes of his potential.
So, what can we expect out of Ebo next year?
Best Case Scenario
He puts some more weight on this offseason, polishes his offensive game and learns how to guard without committing fouls.
Eboigbodin solidifies himself as a frontcourt starter, becomes a solid rim protector and executes the weak-side lob. If he implements a baby hook, up-and-under, or some counters for either move and shows that he’s comfortable with his back to the basket, he could be a dangerous weapon for the Illini. Like Nnanna Egwu, Jr., except he learns to catch the ball.
Worst Case Scenario
The worst thing that could happen for Ebo is he takes two steps back from the progress he made his freshman year. He did the little things right, was available to give Leron and Finke quick blows when they were gassed, and showcased some decent athletic ability.
If the starting job is his for the grabbing and he doesn’t capitalize on the opportunity, that could open the door for guys like Samba Kane or other newcomers. This shakes his confidence, and now we’re looking at a motor with no engine. His drive was an instrumental part of his early-on success.
“Okay, realistically though?”
If I had to choose between the two scenarios, I think the first is a little more likely.
Spicy G has the opportunity to shine in Brad Underwood’s system — block shots, run rim to rim, and roll to the basket in the halfcourt. This is all right up Ebo’s alley.
He fits the mold perfectly, and there is plenty of opportunity for playing time with Finke and Black leaving. I wouldn’t be surprised to see averages of 7-9 points a game, 5-6 rebounds, and 1-2 blocks.