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Quentin Snider Decommits from Illinois, Signs with Louisville

LOUISVILLE, KY - OCTOBER 29:  Rick Pitino the head coach of the Louisville Cardinals gives instructions to his team during the exhibition game against the Kentucky Wesleyan Panthers at KFC YUM! Center on October 29, 2013 in Louisville, Kentucky.  (Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images)
Andy Lyons/Getty Images
Ryan CuriFeatured ColumnistNovember 15, 2013

According to Raphielle Johnson of College Basketball Talk, Quentin Snider has decided to sign with Rick Pitino's Louisville Cardinals, breaking his previous verbal commitment to John Groce and the Illinois Fighting Illini.

The 4-star point guard had originally committed to Louisville but reopened his recruitment, citing potential for playing time as the reason not to sign with Louisville. Now that is an afterthought as he will play for his hometown Cardinals.

Snider's reason for decommitting is unknown, though playing time could have been an issue at Illinois next season. Starting point guard Tracy Abrams will be back as a senior, while senior Ahmad Starks will dress in 2014-15 following a denied waiver to play this season. True freshman Jaylon Tate, the lowest rated of Illinois' five freshmen, has arguably played the best early on in his collegiate career as the team's sixth man. 

Although Illinois would have four point guards on the roster next season, the starting point guard job would have been Snider's to lose as a sophomore, as he was a much higher recruit than Tate, who is one year his senior.

What could have been a great Friday might suddenly take a turn for the worse for the Illini program.

Cliff Alexander, the nation's third-ranked recruit, will make his official college announcement at 3:15 p.m. CST on Friday. Alexander's list is down to four schools: Illinois, Kansas, DePaul and Memphis. Unlike Snider, Alexander has not verbally committed to any school during the recruitment process. 

If he chooses to play for the Fighting Illini next season, it would ease the pain of losing Snider. Unlike Snider, Alexander will not have to compete for playing time in his first collegiate season. He would enter Champaign as the immediate starting power forward and likely leave Illinois after one season to join the 2015 NBA draft.

If Illinois loses out on Alexander as well, that would serve as a double whammy to the recruiting class of 2014. Local product Michael Finke and 4-star forward Leron Black will be suiting up for the orange and blue, but there will always be a question of what if. 

There have been no major changes since Snider committed. In fact, you would think that the possibility of playing alongside Alexander would have increased Snider's desire to play for Illinois. Rumors starting floating around on Thursday that Snider and Pitino had been communicating, and on Friday, it was officially confirmed that Snider would be a Cardinal and not an Illini.

Although he is not as high profile a recruit, Snider's decision to bounce brings back memories from the Eric Gordon-Kelvin Sampson situation. Gordon bailed on Bruce Weber and the Illini to play for rival Indiana. He played one season for IU in 2007-08 before bolting for the NBA. Midway through that season, Sampson was investigated by the NCAA and lost his job, and the Hoosiers essentially gave up on the rest of the season.

For now, Illini nation must hold its breath and hope that Alexander comes to Champaign. With him, Illinois would be a national contender in 2014-15, as Snider's minutes would have been limited anyway. In the long run, Groce has proved he can recruit nationally and locally, and he will have the chance to land another top-notch point guard.

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