Illinois forward commit Antwan January is reopening his 2019 recruitment, per a tweet on Sunday afternoon.
January was the first commitment of the Illini’s class, announcing his decision back in mid-November during the start of Illinois’ season. Center Kofi Cockburn and forward Bernard Kouma followed January over the following six months.
COMMITTED. Thank you to everyone that’s been in my corner. I would like to give thanks to God, my Mom @lovebabe2677 , my brother/trainer @JuliusVElite , and all the coaches that recruited me. It’s been a journey & I’m not done yet. #GoIllini pic.twitter.com/E8b3Ezljlf— Antwan january (@antwanjanuary) November 14, 2018
At 6-foot-10, 240 pounds, January immediately seemed to become one of Illinois’ bigger players on the roster. The Santa Monica, California, native held high-major offers from Kansas State, Texas Tech, Texas A&M, TCU, Florida State and DePaul, among others.
January is ranked as a four-star recruit, and the No. 120 player in the Rivals Composite Rankings for 2019. He’s a big, athletic body that can run the floor well and clear people away in the paint. This commitment addressed the biggest need on the current roster: size.
With Giorgi Bezhanishvilli having a surprisingly effective — and, at times, dominant — freshman campaign, plus with Cockburn being one of the most highly touted big men in the class, January likely would not have had much playing time as a freshman or an underclassman. He would have competed with Kouma and sophomore Samba Kane for minutes.
Amid rumors that January would no longer be part of Illinois’ 2019 class, the future Illini shared a photo of him on Twitter in the Flyin’ Illini jersey on March 6.
Eventually, January changed his profile picture to a variety of characters from The Simpsons, but he still followed through on his pledge that he would be joining the Illini this summer.
Now, he’ll likely follow elsewhere.
This does open up a roster spot for 2019, which could be filled by graduate transfer big man TJ Holyfield, who played for Brad Underwood at Stephen F. Austin.
We wish you the best of luck, Antwan!
For vintage inspired, high quality, and well-designed University of Illinois apparel, check out Fourth and Kirby, and look for the TCR Collection while you’re at it!