Illini were never in the lead with Shaun. Self left spring of Shaun's high school junior year. Weber had from hiring date to November to try. He tried hard. The other open spot was spoken for by Shaun Pruitt.
Shaun's five visits were set for UNC, Illinois, Duke, Arizona and Florida (I think in that order). Florida visit got cancelled with a PG commitment. UNC was the leader but Roy pushed for a commitment on the visit. Shaun was extremely mature and true to the process and promised everyone he was taking the visits scheduled. Roy made the choice to take Quentin Thomas.
Duke then became the leader. Shaun's dad liked what Duke could do for Shaun. Grandpa Livingston connected with Coach k through their military backgrounds.
The Illini stayed in the conversation but never had an edge. Wayne was trying hard and kept the possibility alive. Shaun accepted a late invitation to illinois' midnight madness (or whatever it was called). Shaun was impressed and the family got worried. The Sunday before his Wednesday announcement I played ball with Shaun's dad and he was still concerned illini had done enough.
Obviously they hadn't. I attended the announcement in the Peoria High library not knowing for sure but realizing it was most likely Duke.
One other note. Coach K didn't like Shaun's call telling him he was entering the draft.
Sorry, brother, but as with all posts, we take things with a grain of salt. Also, there seems to be a common trend of people with low post counts who suddenly start posting "insider" information prior to imminent commitments. Often times, these posters are looking for the "shock value" and don't post accurate nor insider information.
I've known Shaun's dad since high school. I pretty much lived the recruiting saga for two years. What I didn't mention was guys like Chris Mullins (NBA GM at the time) started showing up at all of Shaun's high school games halfway through his senior year. That also changed the dynamic.
The Brian Cook jersey was worn without intent of malice. It's a tired story with me.
The expected Smith announcement creates an opening to make another move toward 6-10 Jeremiah Tilmon of East St. Louis, who privately agreed to attend Missouri after receiving his release from Illinois.