Illinois Fighting Illini Basketball

Illinois Basketball: Fighting Illini Heavily Courting Freshman Guard

Bob BajekAnalyst IIIDecember 18, 2011

The Illinois Fighting Illini basketball program is always trying to recruit the best players, and it has its eyes set on freshman guard Prentiss Nixon.

Nixon, who plays on the varsity squad of Illinois' Bolingbrook High School, is a 6', 165-pound athlete who has enormous upside.

The Illini have already given Nixon a tour of the campus a few times, where he has met head coach Bruce Webber and played against current Illini players. During a pickup game against college players, Nixon was able to score "a couple points, get some assists and rebounds."

Other programs interested in Nixon include Northern Illinois Valparaiso, DePaul and Southern Illinois.

Nixon started to stick out at the Fab Frosh Camp in July at Atlanta. Some reporters feel Nixon could be the top prospect in the state of Illinois for the 2015 recruiting class. 

Nixon said in a Patch article he gained a competitive advantage playing three years of AAU basketball with the Illinois Wolves, where he discovered how to effectively drive to the basket. He also possesses good speed to go with an effective mid-range jumper and good ball-handling skills.

Bolingbrook head coach Rob Brost said he's really impressed with Nixon making the varsity squad.

“I’ve been here for five years and we’ve never had a freshman on varsity,” Brost said. “That being said, he is very talented and skilled...We’re going to push him like we push the other guys to improve each practice. When that happens, the sky’s the limit for him.”

Nixon played well Dec. 14 against Neuqua Valley. With his team trailing late, Nixon scored all his eight points on 3-of-5 shooting while playing solid man-on-man defense by providing good ball pressure and contesting shots well.

After the game, Nixon told Bleacher Report in an exclusive interview that he's going to the Illinois and UNLV basketball game Dec. 17 at the United Center where he will meet Webber and his staff again.

"The Illini are treating me well," Nixon said.

The potential Illini recruit said his ultimate goal is to be an NBA player and follow in the footsteps of his favorite player Kevin Durant.

Bob Bajek is a Feature Columnist for the Chicago Bulls. All quotes were received first-hand unless otherwise noted.

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