The Illinois Fighting Illini have had lots to celebrate on the recruiting front recently, bringing in Florida transfer Omar Payne and 2022 guards AJ Storr & Reggie Bass. And the good news keeps on coming.
Illinois bolstered its 2021 recruiting class by adding four-star wing Brandin Podziemski, a 6-foot-6 guard from Delafield, Wisc. The lefty sharpshooter announced his decision on Tuesday afternoon via Twitter.
2021 four-star Brandin Podziemski tells me he’s committed to Illinois. pic.twitter.com/GfQG6DCMUr— Tipton Edits (@TiptonEdits) April 13, 2021
The 72nd-ranked recruit by 247Sports, Podziemski ultimately committed to the Fighting Illini over Kentucky, Wake Forest, Miami and Vanderbilt.
Podziemski posted mind-boggling numbers for St. John’s Northwestern Military Academy this past season, averaging 35.1 points per game on 60.6% shooting — 42.9% from outside the arc — and 82.2% at the free throw line. But he showed that he’s more than just a high-volume scorer; he also averaged 10.1 rebounds, 5.7 assists, 4.0 steals, and 1.3 blocks per game.
In his final high school game on Feb. 27, Podziemski recorded 47 points (15-26 FG, 8-11 FT), nine rebounds and three blocks. His prep career culminated with being named Wisconsin’s Mr. Basketball and AP Wisconsin Player of the Year in March.
With his size, stroke and versatility, Podziemski should instantly find a role in Brad Underwood’s offense. And with Luke Goode and Ramses Melendez already in the fold, the Fighting Illini will now boast three of the best scoring wings in the 2021 class.
Now, Trent Frazier and Da’Monte Williams would NOT factor in to the scholarship count this year, so the Illini could still, theoretically, add another piece to this group, assuming Kofi Cockburn comes back as well.
Frazier announced just last week he was testing the NBA Draft waters while retaining his eligibility, a good sign for the Illini. Neither Cockburn or Williams have officially given word of their intentions for next season. But, don’t rule out a potential Adam Miller return.
Should all four come back, that gives Brad Underwood a pretty solid rotation of at least 11-12 guys that will compete for playing time next year. And that’s certainly a good problem to have, plus two budding commitments in the class of 2022.