Earlier today, highly rated recruit Demetrius Jackson announced he will be attending Notre Dame, not Illinois. Jackson, who is a point guard from Indiana, is ranked 27th in the country by Rivals in the class of 2013.
This is a tough break for Illinois, as they had intensely recruited Jackson. At the end it was between Notre Dame and Illinois, but Coach John Groce couldn’t sway the guard to choose the Illini over the Irish. Jackson also had offers form many big Division 1 schools. Those included fellow Big Ten teams Michigan and Michigan State. Both Illinois and Notre Dame had coaches watch Jackson workout on Tuesday.
For Illinois, this is obviously a touch pill to swallow. Jackson had terrific speed and quickness, along with a strong basketball I.Q. He is the type of player that could help any program, especially a program with a new coach and a restless fan base. When speaking about Illinois Jackson stated “With the last two schools, it was hard to see myself not playing there……It was very difficult because the built-in relationships and the opportunity that Illinois had to offer.”
However, Illinois fans should not be too down about losing Jackson. They still have a solid2013 recruiting class, including two four-star shooting guards in Kendrick Nunn and Malcolm Hill. Groce is getting talented players and it seems like he will continue to be in the mix for high level recruits. They lost on Jackson, but it seems the program is moving in the right direction under the leadership of Groce.
In the short term, though, they are missing a point guard in their 2013 class. They also did not get a point guard in this year’s unheralded class, which only consists of one player, guard Mike LaTulip. They still do have sophomore point guard Tracy Abrams, who I think is a very good player.
As all coaches know, you have to keep moving in recruiting and can’t get caught up over one recruit. Expect Illinois to continue to contend for good recruits.