Looks Like University Of Illinois - Reggie Bass

Apr 17, 2021

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The problem with catching up on all of these LLUOI posts at once is that I've already covered most of the "here's what I think the staff is doing here" thoughts. That big long intro to the AJ Storr post could just be the same intro to this post. Early verbals in the current "being the transfer destination is maybe better than being the initial destination" environment is quite interesting to me.

I knew that Brad Underwood could not talk about Bass and Storr during the press conference on Wednesday but I did want to ask about his track record so far. Of his first 25 commits as the Illini coach, 4 signees in the fall, 21 in the spring. Here was his answer:

Doesn't exactly answer my question, but it does take me back to something he said his first season: that recruiting is year-round for him, and that "the rankings" are meaningless. He thought Jermaine Hamlin had shown enough progress his senior year to offer him a scholarship a few weeks before he was headed off to prep school. And he (apparently) thought that Reggie Bass and AJ Storr had shown enough as high school juniors to make them his 5th and 6th players who would sign during the early signing period.

If you think about it, he has mostly backed up that statement. Most every recruiting class under John Groce and Bruce Weber was wrapped up by early signing period. If we missed on the main targets over the summer and fall, we'd quickly move on the Plan B and Plan C guys. Weber's 2010 class (Richmond, Leonard, and Head) was wrapped up in 2008.

On the other end of the spectrum we've seen Underwood add Giorgi when discovering him in March of his senior season, we've seen BU offer Andres Feliz his only scholarship offer at the time (in April of his final Juco year), we've seen Luke Goode pursued heavily in April of his junior year and we've seen Austin Hutcherson pulled from the D-III ranks in August before enrolling a few weeks later. He wasn't kidding about "year-round".

So I guess I shouldn't put too much into "why suddenly two early verbals from kids who don't have many offers yet?". He likes what he likes, whether it's March or August, and he moves to get the kids committed when he's decided someone is a "take". I used to think he liked waiting until the spring for high school recruits, but perhaps that's just "we didn't land many of the high priority targets" because the Timmes and the Liddells were pursued early yet chose other schools.

With the one-time transfer with immediate eligibility rule coming online (now officially official), I thought things might move "later" - less risk in a spring transfer who has proven himself elsewhere than a high school junior who still needs to develop parts of his game - but that's not what we've seen here. We now have two guys verballed in the 2022 class and, given the "have at least three available in the spring" culture that we're in, they might be the only two early signees.

Let's get to Bass. The rankings are hard to evaluate here because A) it's early and B) there haven't been in-person evaluations in a year. July AAU tournaments (or even some regional high school shootouts) are when guys either climb or fall in the rankings, and that just hasn't happened in the last year. Which, let's be honest, will be written into every recruiting evaluation in the next six months. Iowa will land a player ranked 239th and their fans will say "this would be a top-100 kid if he had been evaluated by anyone this past year". Yes, these will be the least-reliable rankings in the last decade, but they're still rankings. There are still players offered by half of the high-majors.

So maybe we should start there: offers. Going through his Twitter timeline, here's the offers. December of his sophomore year his first offer comes from Florida. Two days later, Texas Tech offers. In June, an Illinois offer and a Providence offer, followed by a Kansas State offer in July. Then an Oregon State offer in September, and that's the latest offer he tweeted. He plays his junior season and then commits to Illinois in March.

Rankings-wise, well, he's not very highly ranked. He's #273 on 247 and not listed in the 2022 Rivals 150, although Rivals does rank him as the 31st-best shooting guard and the 30th-best shooting guard, CJ Gunn, is ranked 148th. So he's probably something like 153rd or something. All told that gives him a current 247 Composite ranking of 217.

Can those rankings be trusted? Probably not. Those early offers (Florida, Texas Tech, Illinois, Providence, and K-State before he even starts his junior year of high school) would suggest the rankings are too low, but it's hard to say. Ranked that low because no one has seen him play or ranked that low because some evaluators have watched his film and aren't impressed? We don't really know.

And his high school journey makes it even more confusing. This is a kid who has been on radars for a long time. Here's a video of him in 7th grade winning Most Outstanding Player at some 7th-grade AAU tournament. And then a website that no longer exists had him as the #8 eighth-grader in the country (you can see reference to that here, but you don't really have to because there are lots of websites making "best 8th-graders in the country" lists and Coast To Coast Hoops doesn't even exist anymore).

Then, once in high school, it gets more interesting. He plays his freshman year at Muncie Central which is the team that lost the state championship game in Hoosiers (#funfact). Then, as a sophomore, he transfers to Hamilton Heights Christian, a prep-school in Chattanooga, Tennessee. This is when it gets weird. Let's go through some tweets.

This December, so the beginning of his junior year, Hamilton Heights plays Elevation Prep at some Tournament. Keep in mind that this is during Covid, and states had different rules, so lots of these high school tournaments would pop up and these prep schools could all play each other (or even play some AAU team or some combo HS team). The film I included in the AJ Storr post was from one of those tournaments. He had transferred to Bishop Gorman in Las Vegas, but Nevada wasn't allowing high school basketball, so that was video of Storr playing with some hybrid "Las Vegas Orange" high-school-slash-AAU-team against a prep school from California (Prolific Prep, Coleman Hawkins' HS team).

All of that to try to explain this.

In December there's a Tournament at The Summit, a facility in Fort Wayne. It's hosted by a new prep school in Fort Wayne, Elevation Prep. During the first round of games, the Elevation Prep Twitter account is tweeting things about Reggie Bass as he plays for Hamilton Heights against Elevation Prep. So this is like Illinois playing Northwestern and the Illinois account tweeting "sweet reverse from Chase Audige":

The next night, Reggie Bass is playing for Hamilton Heights (the team that drove from Chattanooga to Fort Wayne for the Tournament) against Dohn Prep and the Elevation Prep twitter account is tweeting his highlights.

Five days later, Reggie Bass switches from Hamilton Heights to Elevation. Good bye, Chattanooga, Tennessee. Hello, Fort Wayne, Indiana:

And then that night, Bass is playing on the same floor, except this time he's in an Elevation Prep jersey:

Such is the world of prep schools where there's no "if a player transfers to another high school he's not immediately eligible" rule. As a result, Reggie Bass is on his third high school in three years. Freshman year in Muncie, sophomore year in Chattanooga, beginning of junior year in Chattanooga but then a quick transfer to Fort Wayne.

Film-wise, all I think when I watch the film is something Carmen said while we were watching film at that bar in Indy during the NCAA Tournament. Bass committed, we pulled up film on my phone, and Carmen noted his low release point and now it's all I see:

Athletic, long - there's a lot to like here. Just need to fix that shoot-from-under-your-chin shot.

So this leaves me with one of the more confusing Tom Cruise calls in a while. Just like reviewing QB film, release is everything to me, and if I'm docking MJ Rivers for his throwing motion, I should probably dock Reggie Bass for his shooting motion. Rankings are really low here, with a current Composite in the 200's, but maybe that's due to the pandemic (and the fact that he's had three high schools in three years). And while we're on that subject, three high schools in three years seems like it should be a bit of a red flag in today's college basketball environment, but during Covid, where kids were just trying to find places to play, maybe it's not so much of a concern.

Here's where I land. Keeping it simple. The information that qualifies as "that's encouraging" here seems to be balanced out by the information that's discouraging. So that always leaves me right in the middle.

Reggie Bass - Two and one-half Tom Cruises


larue on April 17, 2021 @ 10:58 AM

Steph Curry starts his shot from under his chin, too. Nobody worries about that now. Seems like almost nobody shoots a jumper the way I was taught in the previous century.

Brave Illini on April 17, 2021 @ 12:43 PM

Looked like all his shots were wide open. How does he shoot with a defender up on him, with his hands up?

IlliniJoe81 on April 17, 2021 @ 10:21 PM

Yeah, the jump shot is ugly. He's a good combo guard though with great size.

DB50 on April 18, 2021 @ 06:35 AM

Agree totally with larue, I believe the shooting motion is a non-factor in BU’s estimation like Curry, he has a quick release and wonderful court vision.

Gadwallgetter on April 18, 2021 @ 07:20 AM

And he’s left-handed.....quite a streak we are on there.

Douglascountyillinifan on April 19, 2021 @ 08:21 AM

Three high schools in three years? Why do i see the toothless NCAA a-holes rising up to make him ineligible at Illinois in a last gasp power move?

tednocella@gmail.com on April 19, 2021 @ 12:38 PM

South Bend Central was the school from Hoosiers (the movie).. but Muncie Central is the actual juggernaut from 1954 that Milan (the real life version of the Hickory Huskers) knocked off.

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