NCB On The Trail: Scott Powers

Plainfield East junior shooting guard Aaron Jordan committed to Illinois on Saturday.

Jordan, a 6-foot-4 1/2, 180-pound guard, chose the Illini over Butler, Creighton, Indiana, Northwestern, Purdue, Xavier and Wisconsin.

Jordan committed to Illinois coach John Groce after the Illini’s win over Penn State on Saturday. The program was also celebrating the 25th anniversary of the Flyin’ Illini on Saturday.

“I committed today because it was legends day,” Jordan said in a phone interview. “Just looking back on their history, I want to be a legend for Illinois one day. It was motivating. I want to fill in their shoes.

“It was early, but I felt the time was right. I wanted to make my decision today.”

ESPN Recruiting Nation scout/analyst Reggie Rankin says Jordan was a quality addition for Illinois.

“He’s an excellent shooter with good size, should be very productive in the Illinois system,” Rankin said. “He stretches the floor with his shot-making ability and will keep defenses honest in their ball-screen actions. He’s very skilled. He needs to add strength, but he has excellent upside.”

Jordan is Illinois’ second Class of 2015 recruit. He joins Simeon junior forward D.J. Williams in the recruiting class.

Simeon's Williams commits to Illinois

November, 5, 2013
11/05/13
8:15
AM ET
Chicago Simeon junior forward D.J. Williams committed to Illinois on Tuesday.

Williams, a 6-foot-7, 203-pound small forward, chose the Illini over DePaul, Florida, Georgetown, Providence, Purdue and SMU.

“From my first time on campus, I was just thinking it was the right move,” Williams said by phone on Tuesday morning. “I’ve liked [Illinois] coach [John] Groce on and off the court. It’s also close to my home. My family can watch me play. The Big Ten is also one of the best conferences in the country."

Williams is ranked No. 28 in ESPN’s Class of 2015 and is the highest-ranked recruit Groce has landed since being hired in March of 2012. Illinois has two top-50 recruits committed in the Class of 2014 and signed two top-100 recruits in the Class of 2013.

ESPN RecruitingNation scout/analyst Reggie Rankin thought Williams could be an impact player in the Big Ten and was another significant recruit for the Illini.

“I think he’s a wing player that can score,” Rankin said. “He’s got great length. He’s got a terrific mid-range game. He’s active and he’s got tremendous upside. He’ll be an excellent wing scorer in the Big Ten. That’s a tremendous get for them, especially from another instate, Chicago high school power.

“I think that now Groce has been there a year and he’s more established that these things are going to happen more consistently. It may not be a steady stream, but I think he’ll be able to get high-level underclassmen early because they’re established there as a team and are doing well and are projected to do well. They also have an excellent class in play in 2014. I think it’s part of Groce and his staff being more established and working their home turf, which is a tremendous recruiting ground for them.”

Williams was optimistic he could attract other top players from his class and help build Illinois into a championship contender.

“I can now start recruiting for the other players to kind of join me,” Williams said. “Illinois is rolling really good. With the players they have coming in and more from my year, I think we can make a big run in the NCAA tournament.”

Williams is the third player from Simeon to commit to Groce. He previously signed shooting guard Kendrick Nunn and point guard Jaylon Tate from Simeon. Both are expected to play for the Illini as freshmen this season.

Simeon coach Robert Smith said he was proud to send players to Illinois.

“It’s one thing [former Simeon coach Bob] Hambric talked to me about when I was younger, about keeping guys at home is always big for Simeon, Illinois and the state,” Smith said. “I think it’s a great opportunity. Our basketball is too good in the state to have everyone leave for other schools. That’s my drive to let other people and coaches know to try to keep our guys home. It’s not for everyone. It’s best for some players to go to Kentucky, Duke and North Carolina because it doesn’t fit here, but we should try to make our basketball rich and good in Illinois.”

Williams has made a number of unofficial visits to Illinois during the past few years. His most recent visit came during Illinois’ football homecoming on Oct. 26.

Illinois assistant coach Paris Parham was the lead recruiter on Williams.

Illinois is also among the final four schools for Chicago Curie senior forward Cliff Alexander, who is ranked No. 3 in the Class of 2014 by ESPN. He will announce between DePaul, Illinois, Kansas and Memphis on ESPNU on Nov. 15.

“Williams’ commitment certainly can’t hurt with Alexander,” Rankin said. “It shows another Chicago high-level player has earned their trust to go to Illinois.”

Williams is Illinois’ first Class of 2015 recruit.

PG McIntosh commits to Northwestern

September, 10, 2013
9/10/13
2:13
PM ET
Class of 2014 point guard Bryant McIntosh committed to Northwestern on Monday.

The 6-foot-3 McIntosh, who attends Greensburg (Ind.) High School, chose the Wildcats over Dayton, Purdue, Vanderbilt and Xavier.

Northwestern coach Chris Collins and assistant coach Armon Gates spent nearly eight hours at an in-home visit with McIntosh on Monday. McIntosh committed to the Wildcats near the end of the evening in an unique way.

"On my [campus] visit, the coaches kept telling they were all-in on me,” McIntosh said in a phone interview. “They said they weren’t looking at any other point guards. I had a poker chip with the word ‘all’ and one with ‘in’ and slid them across the table and said, 'I am all-in on you, too.'

“It just felt like the perfect fit for me education-wise and with the relationship I built with coach Collins and coach Gates and everyone else who had a part in my recruitment. Everyone made me feel at home. I had a great visit, a great in-home visit. I’m a believer in Northwestern basketball and what they’re doing right now, and that’s why I committed.”

McIntosh is convinced Northwestern can be an NCAA tournament team early in his career, too. The Wildcats have never made the tournament.

“I really think we’ll have an opportunity to advance our freshman year,” McIntosh said. “The class is still being built, but we have some quality pieces. We’re just believing in Coach Collins. I think we’re going to be dancing early on. I’d be shocked if we’re not in the NCAA tourney by our sophomore year.”

ESPN recruiting coordinator Reggie Rankin said McIntosh provides the Wildcats with a versatile guard.

“He’s a combination guard that is smart, has a great feel, can make open shots and can slide over and contribute at the point without missing a beat because he has a nice handle and ability to involve teammates on the break or within the half-court offense,” Rankin said. “He’s a hot prospect coming out of the July evaluation period.”

McIntosh is Northwestern’s third class of 2014 recruit. He joins St. Rita (Chicago) small forward Vic Law and Westlake (Ohio) power forward Gavin Skelly in the class.

SPONSORED HEADLINES