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Four-star forward E.J. Liddell includes Illinois in final five schools

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After a rough week, Illinois still has a chance.

Chicago Sun Times

Illinois missed out on Kahlil Whitney and Terrence Shannon Jr. last week with 2019 commitments, but the Illini are still in the running for four-star forward E.J. Liddell.

Liddell, a four-star forward from Belleville West in Belleville, Illinois, included Illinois in his final five schools on Monday afternoon.

From our Tristen Kissack back in June:

Standing at 6-foot-7, 220 pounds, Liddell would come in as the team’s third biggest player, only behind Giorgi and Samba in height. He would add immediate frontcourt depth, a large area of concern right now for Brad Underwood and the staff.

There’s a lot to take away and like from Liddell’s game, and it’s easy to see why he’s one of the top prospects. He talked a lot about how the Illini used Leron Black in their system last season. Black isn’t an ideal fit for how Underwood wants to run offenses, but he played to his strengths and made a name for himself this year.

Liddell would be a better fit for how the Illini want to do things. He handles the ball really well for a guy his size. His ability to put the ball on the floor and get to the rim is an underrated aspect of his game. Liddell can also knock shots down from out on the arc, so he’s not just limited to one role in a system. Kipper Nichols will play a similar role this season to what E.J. could potentially play for the Illini.

Defensively, he does a great job of altering shots at the rim. He’s not one of the typical trees you’d find down on the block, but he’s athletic and uses his long arms to give opposing drivers fits. If he wants to continue playing the stretch four position in college and guarding big men, he’d have to put on more muscle, but his frame and skillset are a great start.

Liddell has not announced when he plans on making his final decision.