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Illinois may have the most underrated 2022 prospect

Zacharie Perrin is looking like he has a ton of potential.

Photo by David Grau/Euroleague Basketball via Getty Images

Brad Underwood might have just done it again.

Going into his sixth year at the helm, the Illini head coach has been killing it lately with under-the-radar pickups. Underwood has made a habit out of finding low-rated but high-impact players.

U18 Next Generation Select Team v U18 Crvena Zvezda mts Belgrade - EB Adidas Next Generation Tournament Photo by David Grau/Euroleague Basketball via Getty Images

Players such as Alfonso Plummer (0-star transfer per 247sports), Jacob Grandison (0-star transfer per 247sports), and Andres Feliz (JUCO transfer) fit this bill. BU may have his next one.

Zacharie Perrin is a 6-foot-10 power forward from France who pledged his verbal commitment to Illinois on June 27. Perrin, only 17 years old (born August 30, 2004), has played for the France National Team in two FIBA U18 European Tournaments in 2021 and 2022.

As a 16-year-old in 2021, Perrin averaged 9.2 points per game and 6 rebounds per game on 50% shooting from the field. In the 2022 tournament (happening contemporaneously to this article’s writing), Perrin has so far led France to a 5-1 record, while averaging 13.8 points per game, 7.7 rebounds per game, 1.8 assists per game and 1 block per game in only 18 minutes per game.

Perrin is one of the most efficient player in the entire tournament. Despite ranking 64th in minutes per game, Perrin is 6th in PPG, 2nd in FG%, 4th in RPG, and 3rd in efficiency, as of the time of writing.

Perrin has put up some impressive individual statline as well. Perrin posted a double-double with 10 points and 10 rebounds in a victory over Great Britain.

Playing Israel, Perrin scored 20 points and grabbed 8 boards en route to a 16-point victory. Perrin hung 18 points and 13 rebounds on Germany, which the French won by 23 points. Perrin’s game against Germany was his second double-double in the first four games of the tournament.

Where will Zacharie Perrin fit in on this Illinois roster? I could see Perrin playing about 6-8 minutes off the bench his freshman year. I see this year looking a lot like Coleman Hawkins’s freshman year. He could potentially be a huge X-factor off the bench, bringing in versatility and energy.

As for upcoming years, it’s hard to tell who will be on the roster, even next year. If Perrin develops like it looks like he can, he could be a big part of the team in the latter years of his college career.

U18 Mega Mozzart Belgrade v U18 Next Generation Select Team - EB ANGT Championship game Photo by David Grau/Euroleague Basketball via Getty Images