On Sunday, the Illini lost on the court to Michigan, but had some excellent recruits in the stands who see some playing time opportunities. One of the most coveted recruits in attendance was 2014 point guard prospect Jaquan Lyle.
The Evansville (Ind.) Bosse guard (6-foot-4) is at the top of the Illini recruiting board and made his first trip to the Illinois campus since the hire of new Head Coach John Groce.
"I've seen how they play on TV a lot, but I just wanted to come and talk to the new coaching staff," Lyle said. "This is my first time visiting them on campus, so I just wanted to come, talk to them and see how they play in person to get a feel for them."
"You always watch certain things. I like to see how the coaches coach. I like when a coach is really into the game, I don't like when he is laid back and not into it. But I just want to see how the players play and respond and how the program is run."
After an excellent summer, Lyle has been even better during the high school season, dominating the action and filling the stat sheet. He's had numerous triple doubles, and his team is 15-3.
"I'm about 3 assists away from averaging a triple double and we're 15-3," Lyle said. "Individually it's going pretty good for me, but the most important thing is that our team is doing well. We're on a win streak and playing real god basketball right now."
Anytime you hit 5 star status, you get noticed and opponents are all over you. They want to make a name for themselves and take it to the more hyped player. Lyle knows that and has been taking it all in stride.
"I'm just enjoying it," Lyle said. "People will come after you, so you have to stay hungry and stay humble at all times."
As the assist totals show, Lyle has the vision and passing ability to play the PG, and excellent size for the position. Some schools are recruiting Lyle as a combo guard, but Illinois is telling him that he is a point guard for them. They want the ball in his hands, according to Lyle.
"I can play all 3 (perimeter) positions, just whatever they need from me," Lyle said. "Coach Groce has talked to me about playing point guard. He doesn't see me playing anything here but point guard."
Although he has numerous offers and interest from around the country, Lyle lists 5 schools as pursuing him the hardest right now. All 5 have offered scholarships in 2014. He doesn't have a plan to limit it at this point, but says that if it gets too out of hand, he may have to this spring or summer.
"Florida, Illinois, Louisville, Ohio State and IU," Lyle said. "There are other schools on me, but those are the schools that have been on me the hardest right now. I'm going to just take my time and enjoy the process, but if I feel I need to cut down my list and the time is right, I will."
Lyle has yet to take his ACT or SAT, and looks to do that this spring or summer, which means he won't take any official visits until then. Until then he will finish out his High School season and then be out on the Nike EYBL circuit with Spiece Indy Heat.