UPDATE: Holy Cross transfer Jacob Grandison has committed to the Fighting Illini. Grandison made the announcement on his Instagram page Sunday morning:
I continue to admire how Brad Underwood and his staff leave no stone unturned when it comes to recruiting. When you’re attempting to rebuild a program — especially at the Power Five level — sometimes you have to go against the grain. Case in point: Austin Hutcherson. The Fighting Illini landed the former Division III standout during an official visit earlier this month.
Now another transfer could be taking his talents to Champaign.
JUST IN: #Illini will bring in Holy Cross transfer Jacob Grandison for an official visit beginning on Friday. 6'6 perimeter player who can make shots. Sit one to play two.— Derek Piper (@DPiper247) August 15, 2019
The 2020 class is crucial. But 'get old & stay old' looks to be in effect too.https://t.co/E4BroOKsvM
Grandison, a native of Oakland, California, started 51 of 64 contests in his two seasons at Holy Cross, including all 33 last season. He is a 6-foot-6 swingman who averaged 14 points, five rebounds and three assists per game in 2018-19, shooting better than 36% from three-point range and 80% at the free throw line. Defensively, Grandison averaged nearly a steal per game last season for the Crusaders. He entered the transfer portal following the retirement of coach Bill Carmody, whom Illini fans may remember from his time at Northwestern.
Like the aforementioned Hutcherson, Grandison would require a redshirt year and have two seasons of eligibility to play.
It’s difficult to tell what this roster will look like after the upcoming season. So far Hutcherson is the only commit for Brad Underwood’s 2020 class. The Illini have already missed out on some of the premier high school recruits in the class, Nimari Burnett and Caleb Love. It’s also unlikely that Illinois gets a commitment from Chicago’s D.J. Steward. However, the Illini are the favorites to sign their top target, Morgan Park guard Adam Miller.
It’s clear what the coaching staff is prioritizing by pursuing Hutcherson and Grandison: length, outside shooting, and experience. Class balance is very important. As we’ve seen with Lovie Smith and the football program, it’s awfully hard to compete when you’re running a bunch of freshmen and sophomores out there night after night. Adding a player like Grandison would — at worst — provide a valuable depth piece to help mentor a roster replete with younger talent.