By Joe Henricksen
Western Illinois coach Jim Molinari knows his way around the state of Illinois. The veteran coach has recruited the state for three decades, including head coaching stints at both Northern Illinois and Bradley. Those recruiting ties he's established as both a head coach and years as an assistant have paid off in his most recent job.
Molinari and Western Illinois secured a commitment from Joliet West's Remy Roberts-Burnett, a Class of 2011 combo guard. What Roberts-Burnett will immediately bring to WIU basketball is instant athleticism. Roberts-Burnett is an off-the-charts athlete and will give Molinari one of the better athletes in the Summit League.
"I think Western Illinois is a good fit and he's going to have a great career there," says Joliet West coach Luke Yaklich. "He's a terrific kid and is an incredible young man as a student-athlete. He's athletic and can get where he wants to get on the floor with the ball."
Remy-Roberts is about as athletic as they get in the backcourt -- explosive off the bounce and a big-time finisher at the rim. The 5-10 combo guard plays bigger than his size and helped lead Joliet to a supersectional appearance this past March, where he scored 10 points and had six assists in a loss to O'Fallon. As a junior he averaged 8.5 points and 3 assists a game as an All-Southwest Suburban Blue selection and Joliet Herald-News All Area pick. While Remy-Roberts needs to become much more consistent with his perimeter shot and extend his range, he's solid in the open court with his quickness, strength and athleticism.
WIU made a four-win improvement to 13 wins last year under Molinari and the Leathernecks return their leading scorer in Warren product Ceola Clark. The Leathernecks now have Remy-Roberts in the fold and are heavily involved with Lockport's athletic Karrington Ward, a 6-5 athletic wing.
Another Redbird lands
While the Hoops Report doesn't cover Indiana, it does get to see plenty of Indiana prospects through local tournaments in the spring and summer. And one prospect the Hoops Report has had a chance to watch is Nic Moore of Warsaw, who will cross the state border to play his college basketball as he committed to Illinois State on Sunday.
Illinois State, which has already locked up a top 15 prospect in the state in 6-3 guard Johnny Hill of Glenbard East, added another terrific backcourt player in the 5-9 Moore, who is a tough point guard who can shoot and score in bunches. Moore scored 28 points and dished out 6 assists in the Indiana 4A state title game a year ago (a loss to North Central of Indianapolis) in just three quarters of action. Todd Hensley of Spiece Indy Heat confirmed the Moore commitment, who was recruited by Illinois State assistant coach Rob Judson, to the Hoops Report.