By Joe Henricksen
There are always a number of players that play themselves into Division I scholarships and raise their stock during the July evaluation period. There may not have been a player that did more to enhance his reputation in the Class of 2011 than Lyons Township guard Nick Zeisloft.
The 6-4 guard, who was a barely a blip on the recruiting radar heading into the summer, put up a couple of eye-opening performances in the final week of July while playing with his Full Package club team. The offers followed and, after officially visiting Illinois State this past weekend, the sweet shooting 2-guard gave the Redbirds a commitment on Sunday.
"Illinois State even stood out to me during my unofficial visit and then had another great visit this weekend," said Zeisloft, who had offers from UIC, Eastern Kentucky and interest from DePaul, Arizona State, Bradley and Loyola. "The camaraderie between the players there stood out to me, and I felt very comfortable and saw the close staff-player relationship."
Last winter Zeisloft was part of a memorable basketball season at Lyons Township. He played a key role in the Lions winning 23 straight games to start the season and capturing conference and regional championships. While Zeisloft is known as a shooter -- he connected on 41 percent (52 of 127) from beyond the three-point line and averaged 11.5 points a game as a junior -- he also led his team in assists (3.4) and averaged nearly 5 rebounds a game.
Zeisloft certainly has a Division I quality: shooting the basketball. He's one of the premier shooters in Illinois, with size and a release point that allows him to get his shot off and stretch defenses. While not real quick laterally, Zeisloft does have some surprising athleticism and bounce off the floor.
Illinois State now has three perimeter players locked up in the Class of 2011. The trio of Zeisloft, point guard Nic Moore out of Indiana and Glenbard East's Johnny Hill, the Hoops Report's No. 13 ranked player in the senior class, should complement one another nicely for coach Tim Jankovich.
UIC lands big man
Howard Moore landed his first recruit as head coach at UIC, getting a verbal commitment from 6-11 Will Simonton of Fishburne Military Academy in Virginia.
Ed Huckaby, who coached three years in the Horizon League at Wright State, believes UIC is getting a player that fits perfect in what the Flames will do and are getting one heck of a prospect.
"He's just very skilled, put together at 225 or 230 pounds," says Huckaby. "He can face the basket and is comfortable out there, even at his size. When it's all said and done he is going to be one heck of a player. He is the type of big man you would find at Wisconsin or Butler. He can be that good."