Illini Recruiting Insider With Ryan Evan

May 29, 2017

10:30 A.M. CST

Illinois Prep Bulls-eye is proud to introduce Ryan Evan as a recruiting contributor to our site.  Ryan will be providing monthly stories focusing on all aspects of Fighting Illini men's basketball recruiting which will include thorough breakdowns and analysis.  For those who are not familiar with his work, in a short time span Ryan has rapidly emerged as one of the foremost authorities on all things Illini and has proven to be one of the most knowledgable and accurate insiders when it comes to basketball recruiting.

Since his emergence on the scene, Ryan accurately predicted from the get-go that Mark Smith would commit to the University Of Illinois as well as forecasting Mark Alstork's transfer to the Orange and Blue before anyone else.  We hope that everyone enjoys Ryan's work and Illinois Prep Bulls-eye looks forward to continuing to work with him in bringing all of our followers the very best in Fighting Illini men's basketball recruiting coverage.

Breaking Down The Illini 2017 Recruits

By Ryan Evan--Illinois Prep Bulls-Eye Recruiting Contributor

I want to start this off by thanking Illinois Prep Bulls-eye for allowing me this
opportunity to showcase and provide illini fans free insight. Quality doesn't
always have to be paid for. Every piece I write will have the same passion and
honesty I give all my followers on twitter/radio and television. With all that
being said- Welcome to the first edition of Bullseye Illini Insider. 

Brad Underwood's hiring a couple months back brought forth a lot of change. Change
we have seen most recently with the transfers of DJ Williams and Jalen
Coleman-Lands. Illinois fans have witnessed Jeremiah Tilmon ask for a release of
his NLI as well. Through all that Brad Underwood has still maintained hope and a
bright future. For me it begins with his staff and the job they have done to keep
the 3 important members of his first class at Illinois in 2017. 

Orlando Antigua's recruiting prowess and years of experience developing big men
for l John Calipari cant be understated. He also was just recently cleared of any
wrong doing down at USF. Jamall Walker being kept on staff keeps Illinois in the
game down in the Metro East area. With the likes of Cuonzo Martin and Travis Ford
it's not gonna be easy getting talent from that area. EJ Liddell will be a huge
recruit and it could be an epic battle for his services. I will be mentioning a lot more
about him over the next few months. Finally Ron "Chin" Coleman brings some stability and
legitimacy to Chicago for the first time since Jimmy Collins. That may be bold but
I think Chin delivers big time in the area through his years of relationships and
coaching. He is a good teacher and leader as well. 
The 2017 class isn't finished; i want to make that clear. Illinois needs a big man
badly and the staff as I write this has their sites on a 2017 BIG who fits what
Brad Underwood demands both offensively and defensively. Will they seal the deal?
Time will tell.  Therefore, without further adieu, here is a breakdown on the Illini's 2017 recruits to date.

Da'Monte Williams ( 6'3 4 star CG Peoria Manual) 
The first of the group to commit to Illinois. He gave his verbal to former coach John Groce and current assistant Jamall Walker. He's the wild card for many but not myself. As long as he recovers fully, heck even 90% of what he was on course to be...Look out! He was averaging 26 ppg before his season was ended in late November with a torn ACL. From all indications his rehab is on course and should be full go in August. I expect a heavy chip on the shoulder of a man who is motivated to show why he was a consensus top 50 recruit just over a year ago. At 6'3 and a physical body even more mature that his father at his age. Damonte brings high baksetball IQ and an unselfishness that will thrive in underwoods offense. He's a good defender who isn't afraid of contact either. A good athlete who can handle the ball and shoot from range as well. The consistency will be his key over the years. The Peoria pipeline continues through Da'Monte Williams.
Trent Frazier (6'2 4 star PG Wellington HS Florida)
This kid is pure excitement and fun to watch. He bleeds orange and blue and has gained huge notoriety not just for his game but his loyalty to Illinois through a tough couple weeks back in mid-late march. I have gotten to know Trent and his family very well. I can tell you he never once thought about playing anywhere else. Just so happens Brad Underwood recruited him at SFA. Destiny would be a phrase I might use for this. Trent is a legend down in West Palm Beach and recently had his jersey and number retired. That speaks volumes for a high school kid; that is rare. People down in that area view him as one of the two best to ever come from there. Jackie Manuel who played at UNC and was a fixture for Roy Williams back in the early and mid 2000s sits alone with Frazier. Trent has a quick, tight lefty handle and an even quicker release from deep. He's a marksman from long range and can get to the rim with ease: shoots very high percentage from the line and can finish around the basket with acrobatic perfection. He is a winner and finished his career with 2 State finals appearances and a state title. Trent is a good leader and when needed was extremely unselfish helping his team escape a regional final against Lake Worth in the final seconds. In case you can't tell, I am a big fan of Trent Frazier and I know every Illini fan will see what I have over the last year. He needs to get a lot stronger especially for Big Ten play but I have no doubts Illini strength coach Adam Fletcher will get the job done.
Mark Smith (6'4.5 4 star PG Edwardsville)
Last but certainly not least Illinois Mr. basketball and Gatorade player of the year Mark Smith. The first real big commitment in a heated battle between MSU and Kentucky, Mark gave his pledge to Brad Underwood and the fighting illini. Mark brings a College made body and toughness you can't teach. His range extends to at least 30 feet from deep & will be the "And 1 machine" in college. For such a thick bodies guard he can get to the rim when needed and is a great passer with good instincts. Many times in high school I would watch him break a press himself and ALWAYS make the right play. He put numerous players on posters with thunderous dunks or would the open man in the corner for a crucial three pointer. He finished the season a consensus top 75 player and deservedly so, he's a great leader and is fearless. His recruitment blew up late after he got the better of SLU commit Jordan Goodwin and Althoff Catholic. A former D1 baseball commit i think will go down as one of the most important Illinois basketball commits in many years.

On that note, the Brad Underwood era begins Illini fans!


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Continue to check in with Illinois Prep Bulls-eye for all of the latest as it pertains to recruiting and high school basketball in Illinois.


We welcome comments regarding this story or any other entry published by Illinois Prep Bulls-eye.  They can be made by e-mailing us at

Continue to check in with Illinois Prep Bulls-eye for all of the latest as it pertains to recruiting and high school basketball in Illinois.