UIC Lands First 2016 Commitment From High-Energy Instate Wing

By Roy & Harv Schmidt

October 3, 2015

10:00 A.M. CST

Illinois Prep Bulls-eye said from the very beginning that when Ronald "Chin" Coleman was hired as an assistant coach at the University Of Illinois At Chicago that would bring immediate rewards.  It looks like our prediction has proven to be right on cue. That is because the Flames and head coach Steve McClain secured their first commitment in the 2016 class today with a commitment from 6'4 wing forward Tarkus Ferguson from Althoff Catholic High School in Belleville, IL.

Ferguson ended up choosing the Flames over offers from Tennessee State and Indiana State, two schools that he also took official visits to in addition to UIC.  His commitment was confirmed to us by multiple sources.

UIC was one of the first schools to offer Ferguson a scholarship and ironically, it was shortly after McClain brought Coleman on board as one of his assistants.  From that point on the Flames staff made it abundantly clear that Ferguson was a top priority and there is no question that Coleman's relationship with Ferguson and his close connections to those involved with Ferguson's recruitment were instrumental in helping to close the deal.

Make no mistake about it--besides his closeness with the coaching staff, it was Ferguson's official visit to UIC that sold him above everything else.

"They simply made it feel like home, Ferguson said.  "The environment is very similar to the one at Althoff and is one in which I am quite comfortable."

Ferguson was the winner of our "Dow Jones" Summer Award (http://ilprepbullseye.com/Summer_Awards.html).  We have not seen another player in the state who plays with a higher motor or with a greater level of energy from start to finish.

Ferguson was outstanding when we watched him during the July Evaluation period at Summer Jam presented by NY2LA Sports, where he was one of the top five performers in attendance while competing for the Southwest Illinois Jets 17-Under travel team.  He is an outstanding athlete, is like a tank getting to the basket and a prolific mid-range scorer. With his high-level play this past Spring and Summer, there is no question that Ferguson has taken his game to another level.

Needless to say, Ferguson is quite excited about the opportunity that awaits him at UIC.

"The coaching staff wants me to be the future leader of the team.  They have said that I will play point guard.  I trust them and am confident they will push me to the next level, not only as a player but also off the court."

McClain and the entire Flames staff have been absolutely relentless in their pursuit of in-state recruits and have extended scholarship offers to countless prospects in the classes of 2016 and 2017.  A couple of their other prime Illinois-based targets in the 2016 class are 6'7 power forward Brandon Johnson from Thornton Fractional South High School in Lansing, IL and 6'0 point guard Micah Bradford from Bradley-Bourbonnais High School in Bourbonnais, IL.

Ferguson plays on a high school team at Althoff that will undoubtedly be one of the favorites to win the Class 3A championship in Peoria next March.  In addition to Ferguson, the squad features two other D1 players in 6'7 2016 forward Brendon Gooch, who committed to Southern Illinois University in June, and 6'3 2017 2-guard Jordan Goodwin who is being recruited by several high major programs. 

Pollack Commits 

... At the time of this entry's publication Illinois Prep Bulls-eye learned that 6'3 2016 2-guard Michael Pollack from DeKalb High School in DeKalb, IL has committed to Northern Michigan University and head coach Bill Sall.  His commitment was confirmed by DeKalb varsity boy's basketball coach Al Biancalana.  Pollack enjoyed a solid summer playing for the highly successful Quad City Elite Orange 17-Under travel team and is one of the better long-range shooters in Illinois from the 2016 class.  Sall and Wildcats assistant coach Charles Belt continue to recruit extremely well in the state of Illinois.  With the return of Pollack and 6'7 2016 power forward Luke Davis, DeKalb should rank among the top 20 teams in Class 4A heading into the start of the season.  

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