Wednesday, January 10, 2007

Basketball Recruiting Update

There has been some recruiting news break this week that I thought I would pass along for those of you that may have missed it. Quinton Watkins from Dominguez High School in Compton, California, is a four star shooting guard and a class of 2007 Top 100 player. He committed to Illinois on Saturday night.

Many recruiting analysts view Watkins as the best remaining shooting guard in the 2007 class and getting a commitment from him was a good thing for the Illini, especially since most experts believed he would end up at a school on the west coast. Illinois badly needed to add another guard (especially one who can score) to its recruiting class and this commitment likely concludes recruiting for the 2007 class.

As Illinois moves toward getting 2008 commitments, it will be interesting to see how many scholarships they have available. There will be at least two scholarships. Whether or not there is a third, depends on what they have committed to Trent Meacham. He joined the team as a walk-on after transferring from Dayton. It is Illinitalk's understanding that he will have a scholarship next year (as Illinois had five available but only has four recruits counting Watkins). Whether that scholarship was for one year or for the remainder of Meacham's eligibility seems to be unclear. If it is for only one year, Illinois will have three scholarships available for the 2008 class.

I don't oppose giving Meacham a scholarship during a year when there is an extra one available. However, if Illinois has an opportunity to get three great recruits for the 2008 class, then I sincerely hope they have not committed that scholarship to Meacham. Nothing against Trent but he knew what he was getting into when he decided to transfer and walk-on. Just because a scholarship is available for him in 2007 doesn't mean that he should expect (or that the coaches should feel obligated) to get one in 2008.

The 2008 recruiting class is going to be critical for the Illini and Coach Weber. They need to being able to maximize every scholarship they have available to bring in the best talent possible. I hope that is the choice they make.

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