The Illini enjoyed yet another uneventful signing day.
The coaching staff had three verbal commitments coming into Signing Day 2022. All three young men signed on the dotted line. Once again, according to 247, Illinois has a top-20 national recruiting class.
This has become the expectation under Coach Underwood. When star assistants Orlando Antigua and Chin Coleman left, the expectation was that unless Creighton’s Alan Huss joined the staff, there would be a giant recruiting hole. But the current assistant corps of Tim Anderson, Chester Frazier, and Geoff Alexander each landed signatures from a prospect in this year’s excellent class. Let’s briefly discuss the three newest Illinois MBB signees.
Zacharie Perrin - If this name sounds familiar, Illinois technically signed Perrin after a verbal commitment for the class of 2022. However, University of Illinois admissions decided Perrin still had some issues to work through. The big southpaw made it to the states and enrolled at Sunrise Christian Academy in Kansas. The school is a basketball powerhouse with multiple top-50 national players in both the classes of 2023 and 2024. Perrin is practicing against elite competition in the states just as he played against older, tougher competition in the French pro ranks.
He’s a rangy 6-foot-10 player with a solid perimeter shot and tantalizing defensive upside that hasn’t truly been tapped into. Coach Underwood expressed appreciation for his multi-positionality, high-level performance for French U18 national team, and his basketball IQ. Geoff Alexander was Perrin’s primary recruiter.
Dravyn Gibbs-Lawhorn - The skilled scoring guard comes to Illinois from perennial basketball powerhouse Montverde. He was previously committed to his hometown Purdue Boilermakers.
In his signing day press conference, Coach Underwood raved about how Dravyn stepped in for current Illini point guard Skyy Clark after his injury and took over at point guard. The two-way combo guard who scores at all levels was a national champion in high school and plays with a competitive fire. Tim Anderson led the Illini’s recruitment of Gibbs-Lawhorn, who provides additional insurance in case Skyy Clark or Jayden Epps is able to leave for the NBA ranks early.
Amani Hansberry - He was the first domino to fall. The DC native plays his high school basketball in Baltimore, the hometown of Illini assistant Chester Frazier. Hansberry is a versatile forward whose scoring ability and motor fit in well with a deep roster full of multi-positional excellence. He has an advanced feel for the game that increases his likelihood of contributing early.
The Illini made him a priority early on, and Hansberry rewarded their dedication with a tremendous summer performance starring for Team Durant in the EYBL. Coach Underwood loved Hansberry’s basketball IQ and passing ability. His praise of Hansberry seems to closely mirror his praise of Ty Rodgers.
These three signees complement both each other and the current/future roster. This is what stacking classes looks like. This is what a staff that is prepared for the evolution of the college game recruits like. These players fit the Underwood blueprint, which resembles the Bielema blueprint: tough, smart, dependable.
So congratulations and welcome to the newest Everyday Guys in the Illini family.