Illinois Hoops Recruiting Thread (April 2019)

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**cough** https://www.illinoisloyalty.com/Forum/threads/recruiting-talent-vs-conference-standings.24569/

I do plan on updating this with last seasons results and the expected teams for next year once the draft entrants and a good amount of transfers have played out.
Yes, everyone click on this.

I have been an Illini keyboard jockey for well over a decade and that's the best work of message boarding I've yet seen.

Come for the sobering truth about Illini basketball, stay for the savage posterization of Tom Crean.
 
Rockford, IL
Going all the way to 100 for the curious (from Robert's LLUOI post on Kofi):

19 Dee Brown
20 Brian Cook
21 Frank Williams
24 Jereme Richmond
28 Kofi Cockburn
28 Richard McBride
29 Meyers Leonard
32 Ayo Dosunmu
35 DJ Richardson
36 Alex Legion
37 Jalen Coleman-Lands
46 Leron Black
48 Deron Williams
49 Brandon Paul
49 Brian Carlwell
53 Brian Randle
57 Kendrick Nunn
62 Roger Powell
65 Mike Shaw
66 Myke Henry
69 Tracy Abrams
70 Malcolm Hill
71 Demitri McCamey
76 Crandall Head
77 Shaun Pruitt
77 Nick Smith
78 James Augustine
78 Nnanna Egwu
78 DJ Williams
86 Aaron Spears
90 Mark Smith
Nice, thank you. 👍
 
Winged Warrior
Yes, everyone click on this.

I have been an Illini keyboard jockey for well over a decade and that's the best work of message boarding I've yet seen.

Come for the sobering truth about Illini basketball, stay for the savage posterization of Tom Crean.
Just because it caters to your less than positive positing of Illini basketball does not make it so.
 
Removed the recruits from 05 and prior (I believe I got them all removed). I appreciate the efforts of showing the talent we have had on this team, but look at it with some perspective not just the rankings. Because rankings are not perfect.

24 Jereme Richmond
28 Kofi Cockburn
28 Richard McBride
29 Meyers Leonard
32 Ayo Dosunmu
35 DJ Richardson
36 Alex Legion
37 Jalen Coleman-Lands
46 Leron Black
49 Brandon Paul
49 Brian Carlwell
53 Brian Randle
57 Kendrick Nunn
65 Mike Shaw
66 Myke Henry
69 Tracy Abrams
70 Malcolm Hill
71 Demitri McCamey
76 Crandall Head
77 Shaun Pruitt
78 Nnanna Egwu
78 DJ Williams
86 Aaron Spears
90 Mark Smith

I am trying to break this down from memory, so forgive me if I am mistaken about one of these guys, but....
24 players on this list coving 14 years.
13 didn't play all 4 years at Illinois, and most of this list was prior to the wave of transfers we see now in college hoops.
11 of them played 2 years or less, and only 1 of them left early AND was drafted into the NBA.
3 legit point guards?
3 legit big men that can defend the 5? I didn't count Kofi in this list since he has yet to sign.
And of all those 2-4 positions on the court, how many were elite athletes? maybe a handfull?
I think the majority on here would agree that looking while looking back, several on this list were ranked too highly in their class too. I won't name any names.
From a rankings perspective sure, we have had talent, but that is a whos who of players that were asked to play out of position to fill gaps that poorly constructed rosters had exposed.
 
Deleting all the 05 and earlier guys, and like, man, the idea that we haven't had the horses, it boggles the mind.
Even if you're willing to accept that recruiting rankings are a better indicator of talent than eventual high-major NCAA performance (and I'm not), how much talent is actually there? If you narrow it down to the past ten years and look at HS classes of '09 through '18, there are 16 players on that list for 10 seasons, which does not strike me as an overwhelming number. Of those 16, six did not make it past Groce's first season (two grads, two transfers, one early entry, one Jereme Richmond), leaving only ten players over 8 years. And those are the guys who have been on board for our tourney drought.

I don't think that's an overwhelming amount of talent coming in. I also don't think that a basic count of RSCI top-100 players is really all that valuable. The data is not reliable (i.e. the talent pool varies wildly year-over-year, so not all #78 RSCI guys are created equal). The data is not particularly valid (i.e. there's no particularly strong indicator that the rankings are reflective of talent), especially once you exit the top 30 or so on the list.

The rankings are a tool and one of the best ones we have, but as a dataset they are grossly inadequate for statistical analysis. At the very least, they tell us far less about a player's talent than up to four years of competition against high-major teams will. Unfortunately, that's not very useful unless we're looking at things after the fact. But since that seems to be the exercise here:

Illinois has, for several years, had only a small handful of guys who belong on a first-division B1G roster.

I'm not sure how you can come to any other conclusion after watching six years of this team getting swamped by more athletic and more talented players. And I don't get what the point is, other than to dump on the few good players who are actually coming through the door to play for this team.
 
I mean, he did say he isn't one to accept HS recruiting rankings as an indicator of talent, and yet you present him some data based off HS recruiting rankings.
My brain can't handle the cognitive dissonance of "recruiting rankings tell you nothing, it's all about what happens on the floor, therefore it's absurd to be negative about Coach Whoever, just look at the great recruits he's getting us visits from!"

The nuclear reactor of my contempt for that attitude is an energy source that never expires. Equal and opposite to this board's ability to produce it, apparently.
 
Even if you're willing to accept that recruiting rankings are a better indicator of talent than eventual high-major NCAA performance (and I'm not), how much talent is actually there? If you narrow it down to the past ten years and look at HS classes of '09 through '18, there are 16 players on that list for 10 seasons, which does not strike me as an overwhelming number. Of those 16, six did not make it past Groce's first season (two grads, two transfers, one early entry, one Jereme Richmond), leaving only ten players over 8 years. And those are the guys who have been on board for our tourney drought.

I don't think that's an overwhelming amount of talent coming in. I also don't think that a basic count of RSCI top-100 players is really all that valuable. The data is not reliable (i.e. the talent pool varies wildly year-over-year, so not all #78 RSCI guys are created equal). The data is not particularly valid (i.e. there's no particularly strong indicator that the rankings are reflective of talent), especially once you exit the top 30 or so on the list.

The rankings are a tool and one of the best ones we have, but as a dataset they are grossly inadequate for statistical analysis. At the very least, they tell us far less about a player's talent than up to four years of competition against high-major teams will. Unfortunately, that's not very useful unless we're looking at things after the fact. But since that seems to be the exercise here:

Illinois has, for several years, had only a small handful of guys who belong on a first-division B1G roster.

I'm not sure how you can come to any other conclusion after watching six years of this team getting swamped by more athletic and more talented players. And I don't get what the point is, other than to dump on the few good players who are actually coming through the door to play for this team.
Or is it that Illinois has, for several years, not been able to get the most out of a collection of players that were projected to belong at this level, despite teams with similar talent levels being able to do just that?

Is it an issue of not keeping the talent around long enough to develop into an impactful player at the B1G level? Is it an issue of lacking talent in key areas (Groce's eternal struggle to get his PG) despite having a generally talented overall roster?

I believe we've had the guys coming in, but for whatever reason, we have not gotten out of them what we should. And that's one of the reasons I would say Giorgi's play this past season was such a breath of fresh air. We simply have very little history to go on in the last 10 years or so where a recruit has grossly outperformed his ranking.
 
My brain can't handle the cognitive dissonance of "recruiting rankings tell you nothing, it's all about what happens on the floor, therefore it's absurd to be negative about Coach Whoever, just look at the great recruits he's getting us visits from!"

The nuclear reactor of my contempt for that attitude is an energy source that never expires. Equal and opposite to this board's ability to produce it, apparently.
I mean, is that attitude coming from anywhere but inside your head? I think that it's totally reasonable to come to the conclusion that a coach who inherited a cupboard that was largely empty deserves some slack as we enter his third year. And that's not based on the guys who are coming in, it's based on reasonable expectations given the situation.

Giorgi and Ayo are very good players, but you generally do not see teams other than those who annually recruit and lose elite talent rely on freshman for 50% of the team's production unless the upperclassmen can't get it done. And that's precisely what happened to Illinois this year.

You seem to believe that there was the talent here for Underwood to succeed right off the bat and I don't. I'm comfortable with my point of view and disagree with yours and will discuss it all day. But don't roll my opinions up with those of a bunch of other folks who post here in service of your bogus 'me vs. the hivemind' narrative. I don't owe you a defense of anyone's opinion but my own.
 
I believe we've had the guys coming in, but for whatever reason, we have not gotten out of them what we should. And that's one of the reasons I would say Giorgi's play this past season was such a breath of fresh air.
The way I always see it is that the well-constructed program's players are deployed in such a way that they're defined by their strengths rather than their weaknesses, whereas at Illinois is has been the opposite way virtually to the player for well over a decade across two-plus coaching administrations.

But I agree that Giorgi totally broke that mold. I'd argue that was true of Aaron Jordan and to a certain extent DaMonte Williams too (Ayo doesn't have many weaknesses to hide). There's plenty of evidence that Underwood has good feel of how to use his chess pieces (really no doubt of it really if you look at the whole resume). I'm excited to see what he's able to do as those chess pieces mature and develop.
 
Likes: soupy17
I mean, is that attitude coming from anywhere but inside your head? I think that it's totally reasonable to come to the conclusion that a coach who inherited a cupboard that was largely empty deserves some slack as we enter his third year. And that's not based on the guys who are coming in, it's based on reasonable expectations given the situation.

Giorgi and Ayo are very good players, but you generally do not see teams other than those who annually recruit and lose elite talent rely on freshman for 50% of the team's production unless the upperclassmen can't get it done. And that's precisely what happened to Illinois this year.

You seem to believe that there was the talent here for Underwood to succeed right off the bat and I don't. I'm comfortable with my point of view and disagree with yours and will discuss it all day. But don't roll my opinions up with those of a bunch of other folks who post here in service of your bogus 'me vs. the hivemind' narrative. I don't owe you a defense of anyone's opinion but my own.
I can't speak for Gritty on your last point, but I think it's less about Underwood's last couple seasons and more of a thing on the state of the program as a whole over the last bunch of years.

From the thread he linked a few posts back, it's actually a fact that Underwood's first two seasons have been the least talented teams Illinois has had in the past 10 years relative to the rest of the Big Ten.
 
Likes: ChiefGritty
You seem to believe that there was the talent here for Underwood to succeed right off the bat and I don't.
"Success" is in the eye of the beholder. The talent was there for us not to go 4-14 in the B1G and be a 100+ KenPom team.

As we get further from the season and it looks more and more like no one important is fleeing from the program this offseason, I am more and more inclined to look at 2017-18 as just a write-off, an unfortunate first tee mulligan. And I was already inclined to look at the returning team that saw spurts of genuine quality, older and with the big galoot in the middle that's sorely needed, with a ton of optimism.

It's the same thing on both sides of Kirby really. The bad times look to be over on paper. We've built to Whitman and the applicable head coaches vision on paper. But the games ain't played on paper.
 
Or is it that Illinois has, for several years, not been able to get the most out of a collection of players that were projected to belong at this level, despite teams with similar talent levels being able to do just that?

Is it an issue of not keeping the talent around long enough to develop into an impactful player at the B1G level? Is it an issue of lacking talent in key areas (Groce's eternal struggle to get his PG) despite having a generally talented overall roster?

I believe we've had the guys coming in, but for whatever reason, we have not gotten out of them what we should. And that's one of the reasons I would say Giorgi's play this past season was such a breath of fresh air. We simply have very little history to go on in the last 10 years or so where a recruit has grossly outperformed his ranking.
I can understand that point of view, and there's definitely something there with respect to talent retention. Losing guys like Nunn, Richmond, and Black definitely hurt this team. I'm not sure how much that has to do with the various coaching staffs that were in charge during those years, but you can't regularly bleed talented players and succeed.

But I also disagree with the notion that all of the top-100 guys we recruited were talented enough to succeed at a high-major level. Maybe there was a situation where Shaw could have turned into an effective starter, but given how his career trajectory went I think it's more reasonable to write it off as a miss by the analysts than a failure of various coaching staffs to develop him. A lot of the guys we 'missed' on wound up at lower-rung schools, and many of them didn't even succeed there. I just think it's a safer bet to be skeptical about how accurate the recruiting gurus are than to assume these are mostly player development failures.
 
Removed the recruits from 05 and prior (I believe I got them all removed). I appreciate the efforts of showing the talent we have had on this team, but look at it with some perspective not just the rankings. Because rankings are not perfect.

24 Jereme Richmond
28 Kofi Cockburn
28 Richard McBride
29 Meyers Leonard
32 Ayo Dosunmu
35 DJ Richardson
36 Alex Legion
37 Jalen Coleman-Lands
46 Leron Black
49 Brandon Paul
49 Brian Carlwell
53 Brian Randle
57 Kendrick Nunn
65 Mike Shaw
66 Myke Henry
69 Tracy Abrams
70 Malcolm Hill
71 Demitri McCamey
76 Crandall Head
77 Shaun Pruitt
78 Nnanna Egwu
78 DJ Williams
86 Aaron Spears
90 Mark Smith

I am trying to break this down from memory, so forgive me if I am mistaken about one of these guys, but....
24 players on this list coving 14 years.
13 didn't play all 4 years at Illinois, and most of this list was prior to the wave of transfers we see now in college hoops.
11 of them played 2 years or less, and only 1 of them left early AND was drafted into the NBA.
3 legit point guards?
3 legit big men that can defend the 5? I didn't count Kofi in this list since he has yet to sign.
And of all those 2-4 positions on the court, how many were elite athletes? maybe a handfull?
I think the majority on here would agree that looking while looking back, several on this list were ranked too highly in their class too. I won't name any names.
From a rankings perspective sure, we have had talent, but that is a whos who of players that were asked to play out of position to fill gaps that poorly constructed rosters had exposed.
The funny thing is that out of all of those 2-4 types that are on the list, how many are actually capable of guarding PFs? The 4 has secretly been almost as bad as the 1/5 spot, but we just slide our biggest 3 there, so it doesn't feel as bad. If you count Hill as a 3 (I think that was his natural position at both ends) who is the best 4 in the past 10 years?
 
I can understand that point of view, and there's definitely something there with respect to talent retention. Losing guys like Nunn, Richmond, and Black definitely hurt this team. I'm not sure how much that has to do with the various coaching staffs that were in charge during those years, but you can't regularly bleed talented players and succeed.

But I also disagree with the notion that all of the top-100 guys we recruited were talented enough to succeed at a high-major level. Maybe there was a situation where Shaw could have turned into an effective starter, but given how his career trajectory went I think it's more reasonable to write it off as a miss by the analysts than a failure of various coaching staffs to develop him. A lot of the guys we 'missed' on wound up at lower-rung schools, and many of them didn't even succeed there. I just think it's a safer bet to be skeptical about how accurate the recruiting gurus are than to assume these are mostly player development failures.
Definitely agree in say Shaw's case, but I think there is an argument that those kind of misses occur everywhere not just here. From a quick little search, Stanford Robinson and Hanner Mosquera-Perea were guys for IU thtat were similarly rated to Shaw in terms of composite rating (also RSCI 61, and 50 in their respective classes). Neither averaged more than 8.8 points per game a season in their college careers and both transferred out to lower schools (Rhode Island, ETSU). Granted neither crashed out nearly as hard as Shaw did.

You've also got guys like Myke Henry, rated just under Shaw, who did nothing in 2 years at Illinois playing well out of position, transfers to DePaul, does well and gets a cup of coffee in the NBA.
 
"Success" is in the eye of the beholder. The talent was there for us not to go 4-14 in the B1G and be a 100+ KenPom team.

As we get further from the season and it looks more and more like no one important is fleeing from the program this offseason, I am more and more inclined to look at 2017-18 as just a write-off, an unfortunate first tee mulligan. And I was already inclined to look at the returning team that saw spurts of genuine quality, older and with the big galoot in the middle that's sorely needed, with a ton of optimism.

It's the same thing on both sides of Kirby really. The bad times look to be over on paper. We've built to Whitman and the applicable head coaches vision on paper. But the games ain't played on paper.
I disagree on Underwood's first season, but I guess you knew that already.

As for the rest of it, I'm not sure I see the point of getting angry about a more optimistic point of view. You're right that the games need to be played, and you're right that we're entering put up or shut up territory. But the games won't be played for a few months, so why be absolute about the proper level of pessimism here? It's all just whizzin' in the wind.
 
I can understand that point of view, and there's definitely something there with respect to talent retention. Losing guys like Nunn, Richmond, and Black definitely hurt this team. I'm not sure how much that has to do with the various coaching staffs that were in charge during those years, but you can't regularly bleed talented players and succeed.

But I also disagree with the notion that all of the top-100 guys we recruited were talented enough to succeed at a high-major level. Maybe there was a situation where Shaw could have turned into an effective starter, but given how his career trajectory went I think it's more reasonable to write it off as a miss by the analysts than a failure of various coaching staffs to develop him. A lot of the guys we 'missed' on wound up at lower-rung schools, and many of them didn't even succeed there. I just think it's a safer bet to be skeptical about how accurate the recruiting gurus are than to assume these are mostly player development failures.
I guess the real question would be: are our top 100 players failing at a normal rate or higher? If we are doing worse with top 100 players than average, why is that? Bad scouting? Bad skill development? Or just bad fit in the program? I don't really know the answer, it's just curious, because the chances of us just constantly being the team that gets the overrated top 100 players who wash out doesn't make a lot of sense either.
 
Definitely agree in say Shaw's case, but I think there is an argument that those kind of misses occur everywhere not just here. From a quick little search, Stanford Robinson and Hanner Mosquera-Perea were guys for IU thtat were similarly rated to Shaw in terms of composite rating (also RSCI 61, and 50 in their respective classes). Neither averaged more than 8.8 points per game a season in their college careers and both transferred out to lower schools (Rhode Island, ETSU). Granted neither crashed out nearly as hard as Shaw did.

You've also got guys like Myke Henry, rated just under Shaw, who did nothing in 2 years at Illinois playing well out of position, transfers to DePaul, does well and gets a cup of coffee in the NBA.
Those misses do happen everywhere! So frequently, I think, that it begs the question of how good the RSCI rating is as a method of evaluating talent, which is the core of my 'argument.'

Myke Henry is one of the bigger head-scratchers I can recall. I don't think that he even did all that great at DePaul. Not bad, mind you, but nothing he did there indicated that he would wind up in the NBA. Good for him, I suppose...
 
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