Coach John Groce made his first real big recruiting splash as head coach at the University of Illinois by getting guard Melvin Nunn. Nunn will be a senior this season at Simeon High School on the south side of Chicago. He is teammates with the top 2013 recruit, Jabari Parker.
Nunn is 6-3 ft and ranked 42nd nationally on Rivals for the class of 2013. Simeon has a pretty good track record of producing terrific young guards, with one being named Derrick Rose. Illinois also offered a scholarship and recruited Rose heavily.
With one big commitment in his pocket Groce will be able to hold off his critics and excite Illinois fans. As an assistant at Ohio State, Groce was known as a good recruiter and helped land both Greg Oden and Mike Conley Jr. in Columbus. However, recruiting as the head coach is a whole different animal with more pressure and responsibilities. After Parker claimed Illinois was not on his radar, getting a teammate might place them back in the top recruit’s consideration.
Even without Parker, Nunn alone is a big get. He was also being recruited by fellow big ten school Ohio State as well as Marquette, Memphis and UCLA. Under former coach Bruce Weber, Illinois often had trouble fighting with the big schools to keep elite Chicago talent in-state at Illinois.
Nunn joins fellow Illinoisan Malcolm Hill in the class of 2013 for Illinois. Hill is ranked 64th in the country by Rivals.
It can be difficult to rebuild a program quickly. In a conference with as competitive recruiting as the Big Ten getting a couple top 100 commitments always helps to get things rolling for a program. It must also be nice for Groce to get a recruit that his former team , Ohio State, was going after. Today is a big day for Illinois basketball and it leads one to believe there will be more bright days ahead.