I’m no recruiting expert or insider, but I know it’s time to be a little worried.
According to many, many reports, Toledo transfer guard RayJ Dennis was on campus for a visit at Illinois last week. It’s no secret that Dennis — the defending MAC Player of the Year — is the Illini’s top target, and he’s someone at this point they can’t afford to miss out on.
With Coleman Hawkins and Terrence Shannon Jr. following through on the NBA Draft Combine — and time running out for them to pull their names out of the draft — Illinois needs a veteran presence who can score the ball.
Illinois has certainly added some veteran pieces this offseason — and in different ways than in years’ past if you know what I mean — but Dennis is the guy they need. And while he likely doesn’t solve all of the issues, Illinois really can’t afford to see him go elsewhere, like Juwan Howard and Michigan.
The most crucial offseason move for Illinois is still waiting to be made, and it might just be RayJ Dennis or bust for the #Illini. https://t.co/hTwbpnUt3p— IlliniHQ (@IlliniHQ) May 15, 2023
I don’t know — I know NOTHING about this recruiting situation. I can’t emphasize that enough, but I do know it’s taking a while. And with the transfer portal closing last week, the big-name options left on the board are far and few between for BU & Co.
Now, is it the end of the world if Dennis doesn’t end up at Illinois? Probably not. I have enough faith in Brad that he can get whatever squad he has to 20 wins and a No. 9 seed in the NCAA Tournament.
But does the ceiling get raised a bunch with the Illinois native and his 20ish points per game wearing Orange and Blue? Sure, probably, at least you’d think.
I guess the point here is this: Illinois clearly didn’t close the deal when Dennis was on campus last week. He’s taking other visits, notably to Michigan and Baylor.
Toledo transfer RayJ Dennis tells ESPN he will visit Baylor tomorrow.— Jeff Borzello (@jeffborzello) May 14, 2023
Visited Illinois and Michigan in recent days.
Dennis, the MAC Player of the Year and the best available guard in the portal, averaged 19.5 points and 5.8 assists last season.
And if he doesn’t end up in Champaign, then Illinois lost a lot more this offseason than it gained, and that’s saying something.
Whatever is going on, it’s taking too long. And I want some conclusion soon.