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Forward Samba Kane commits to Illinois

A big man. Finally.


It took Brad Underwood about a year on the job at Illinois to land a big man, but he finally plugs that hole with the commitment of 7-foot power forward Samba Kane.

Kane, who plays high school ball at Florida Preparatory Academy by way of Senegal and Aurora, Colorado, committed to the Illini on Friday after arriving on campus for his official visit Wednesday night.

Kane is a three-star center, per 247sports.

Originally a member of the class of 2019, Kane reclassified to 2018, so his list of offers is shorter than your typical, very talented 7-footer. Massachusetts offered in April 2017 and Rutgers offered in May 2017 before the Illini extended an offer on March 2. He also held an offer from UIC.

Kane is the third member of Illinois’ 2018 class, one that had many fans concerned just a few weeks ago about not being filled. After getting a commitment from Morgan Park point guard Ayo Dosunmu toward the beginning of basketball season, Illinois missed out on several big recruits, including George Conditt and Talen Horton-Tucker — both to Iowa State.

Wing Alan Griffin became the second member of the class last Friday.

Illinois still has one open spot left in the 2018 class, aided by the transfer of former Illinois Mr. Basketball Mark Smith earlier this week. Chances remain that players like Matic Vesel and Te’Jon Lucas still hit the transfer market, opening up more spaces for new players than just Tevian Jones, who is still very much on the Illinois staff’s eyes.