By Roy & Harv Schmidt
Consider this blog to be a hodgepodge--a little bit of everything if you will. With that being said, we will try to tie together some loose ends, particularly with respect to recruiting and offer some thoughts on some other things of significance as well.
... First of all, we were somewhat amused when we saw Jerrance Howard surface as a candidate for one of the assistant coaching openings at Marquette. It's not that Howard isn't a hot commodity (because he is) or that he wouldn't make an outstanding assistant for the Golden Eagles. It is simply that we could never see Howard leaving the University of Illinois. Howard has already been instrumental in helping Illinois achieve commitments from three of the top in-state prospects in the class of 2009 in Brandon Paul, D.J. Richardson and Joe Bertrand as well as commitments from the state's top two prospects in the 2010 class in Jereme Richmond and Crandall Head. His loyalty to Illinois is unparalleled and we would not be surprised to see him ultimately become a head coach one day.
... A player who is undoubtedly shooting up the charts at a rapid pace is 6'5 Mikel Brigham from Danville High School in Danville, IL. Brigham was sensational when we watched him at Flash's Spring Hoops Review in Bloomington a couple of weeks ago and has also been playing extremely well on the AAU circuit with both the Illinois Stars and Illinois Elite. Brigham is also a highly recruited football prospect, although there is a possibility that he may have to attend either junior college or prep school. He will continue to run with the Stars and Illinois Elite throughout the spring, and then play for Team Illinois during July.
... Look for this weekend's King James Shooting Stars Classic in Akron, OH to perhaps be the premier event of the spring, as it is absolutely loaded with talent. All of the top 17-under programs in Illinois will be in attendance, including the Illinois Warriors, Illinois Wolves, Mac Irvin Fire, Rising Stars Gold, Full Package Athletics, Team NLP, Mean Streets, Illinois Elite, Illinois Stars, and Chicago Express. There are also age groups ranging all the way down to 10-under.
... Turning to the scholarship front, here are the latest players to recently receive new offers:
David Brown 6'3 Jr. PG Rockton Hononegah-- Illinois State
James Kinney 6'1 Jr. PG Champaign Central-- Murray State
Phillip Jackson 6'8 So. PF Providence-St. Mel-- Southern Illinois
Anthony Johnson 6'2 So. 2G Whitney Young-- Purdue, Iowa
... We would not be at all surprised to see Kinney, as well as Niles West's Nik Garcia, Hales Franciscan's D.J. Cooper, Washington's Dyricus Simms-Edwards, Marshall's Darius Smith and St. Rita's Terrance Johnson be among the players who receive additional scholarship offers after college coaches get an opportunity to watch them in Akron.
... Does anyone think that it is a coincidence that Southern Illinois University is now more involved with prospects from the Mac Irvin Fire traveling team program than ever before now that Chris Lowery hired Lance Irvin as an assistant coach? We don't. The Salukis already have class of 2008 prospect Ryan Hare (who played for the Fire) in the fold, and will be in the running for plenty of other targets from the Fire before it is all over.
... Loyola-Chicago is heavily recruiting many of the top guards in Illinois from the class of 2009. They have already offered both Terrance Johnson and David Brown and are close to extending offers to D.J. Cooper and Darius Smith.
There you have it. Hope that is enough to whet everyone's appetite for now!