Wednesday evening Illinois head coach John Groce and his staff landed their first verbal commitment in the Class of 2016, as 6-foot point guard Te’Jon Lucas announced that he’ll play his college basketball in the Big Ten. The Milwaukee native, who was also considering Old Dominion and USC, plays a position where the Fighting Illini were in need of depth for the future.
With grad student Khalid Lewis (from La Salle) and junior Jaylon Tate both being upperclassmen, Illinois needed a young option to groom with the future in mind. Illinois also has fifth-year senior Tracy Abrams, who will miss another season after rupturing his Achilles earlier this summer.
With the uncertainty that comes with Abrams having suffered serious injuries in each of the last two years (torn ACL sidelined him for the 2014-15 season), and the question of whether or not he’d spend a sixth season in college, adding a point guard in this class was important for Illinois. And in Lucas, the Fighting Illini have a player who improved throughout the summer.
“Te’Jon Lucas was a breakout player this summer in the national camp and grassroots setting as he demonstrated a strong ability to play off of high ball screens,” NBCSports.com recruiting insider Scott Phillips said. “A high-IQ floor leader with some craftiness to his game, Lucas showed he could play against great competition this summer.”
Lucas, who attends Washington HS and played his grassroots basketball for the Milwaukee Spartans program, took an official visit to Illinois last weekend (he took trips to USC and ODU in the two weekends prior).
Video credit: Midwest Ballers