Looks Like University Of Illinois - Benjamin Bosmans-Verdonk
Anyone remember Global Campus? The short-lived initiative in 2007 to expand the University of Illinois online? The school gave up on the thing by 2009, so it only lasted two years. But Brad Underwood is apparently bringing it back. Illinois coaches should focus on Chicago? Nah - we shall recruit THE WORLD.
In order, here are the hometowns of Illini recruits so far under Underwood:
Benin City, Nigeria
Ossining, New York
Guachupita, Dominican Republic
Rustavi, Republic of Georgia
The Bronx, New York
Things I've been wrong about:
1. Underwood recruited Mark Smith and then immediately turned around and recruited Ayo Dosunmu as the first recruit of the next class. That means he's going to focus on in-state kids like Henson did.
No. Well, he still focuses in state (prioritized Liddell last summer and Miller this summer), but this is not going to be some Henson-like roster where everyone is from Illinois. My second senior year in school (1995/96, because all the cool kids go five years) the roster was 12 Illinois kids plus Ryan Blackwell from New York. And Blackwell had grown up in Illinois (Champaign I think?) before moving to New York.
This season, the roster will be two kids from Illinois (Ayo and Da'Monte Williams) plus six international players (and then Trent from Florida and Griffin from New York and Tevian from Arizona and Kipper from Ohio). Which leads me to the second thing I was wrong about:
2. Orlando Antigua was hired for his AAU recruiting connections from his days at Kentucky.
Apparently, he was hired for his connections in the international basketball community. Because each time we hear about a kid like Benjamin Bosmans-Verdonk, we hear that Antigua was involved in finding him. We're not chasing kids through AAU springs and summers here - we're scouting Euroball and searching through prep schools in the United States that bring in international players from all over the world.
I'll pause here to note something because apparently when you say this people think you're saying it's a bad thing. It's not a bad thing. This is how Gonzaga recruits. There are many ways to win - coaches like Fred Hoiberg and Eric Musselman try to win with transfers, coaches like Cal and K win with one-and-dones, the Miller brothers at Arizona and Indiana play the AAU game as far as it will take them - and Brad Underwood has apparently chosen the "find the underrated and under-recruited who didn't come up through the American grassroots basketball system" route.
Because this isn't just "Samba Kane was unknown and under-recruited because he had just moved here from Senegal". We're recruiting in the dark. I mentioned this a few months ago, but let's add another name to the list. This is a list of players recruited to play basketball at Illinois this decade. Guys like Mike Shaw and Kendrick Nunn - we knew their names for 3+ years before they verballed to Illinois. In bold here are the players I learned about within a week of them verballing to Illinois.
Jalen Coleman Lands
Notice a trend since Underwood took over (from Mark Smith on down)? As I said in the earlier post, the Positive Polly way to look at this is that the staff is recruiting in the dark, locking up sleepers like Giorgi before anyone else discovers them. The Negative Norm way to look at this is that we've whiffed on Plan A, Plan B, Plan C, and Plan D, we're sitting here with open scholarships in June, so we might as well add another Matic Vesel because it's better than an open scholarship.
What's that? This post is supposed to be about Bosmans-Verdonk? You're right. Here are my thoughts.
I have no thoughts. We have nothing to go on. We have some film, but it's really hard to read given that we have no idea what kind of competition the KA Pegasus Bulls faced in their Belgian secondary school league. As I've said before, you can watch film of the Iowa Class 1A state finals and see some tall kid absolutely dominating the competition... yet he doesn't even have any Division II offers because it's just the complete lack of competition that makes him appear to be scholarship-worthy.
Which is my real lament here, to be honest. I like using all of my "he was offered by these schools and was ranked here in the composite rankings and here's how he looked on film and here's some film from him playing against a Division I power forward" tools to come up with a Tom Cruise rating, and with Verdonkulous, we just don't have any information. Just that he averaged 16-6-6 for a team that finished 4th at some European secondary school championship in Greece. Is he Giorgi? Is he Matic Vesel? We have no idea.
So how do you Tom Cruise that? You play it safe. Odds are, this one is closer to Matic than it is to Giorgi (who had offers from Minnesota and Seton Hall). So I'll throw a dart and say....
Benjamin Bosmans-Verdonk - One and one-half Tom Cruises