College basketball recruiting tracker: Belgian forward Benjamin Bosmans-Verdonk is Illinois' 3rd Class of 2019 signeeChicago Tribune — Chicago Tribune
June 11-- Jun. 11--Illinois added a third frontcourt player to its 2019 recruiting class Saturday when 6-foot-8 forward Benjamin Bosmans-Verdonk signed a national letter of intent, according to reports.
The native of Belgium was recruited by assistant coach Chin Coleman, according to Illini Inquirer's Derek Piper, who first reported the signing. Bosmans-Verdonk joins big men Kofi Cockburn, a top-50 national recruit, and Bernard Kouma in Illinois' class.
All three signees were born outside of the United States -- Cockburn is originally from Jamaica and Kouma from Chad -- and they give Illinois six foreign-born players among its 12 on scholarship, joining Andres Feliz (Dominican Republic), Giorgi Bezhanishvili (Georgia) and Samba Kane (Senegal).
The Illini have one more open scholarship for 2019-20.
Illinois: Forward Bernard Kouma has signed a Big Ten tender of financial aid with Illinois, securing his place on the team, according to a university release Thursday.
The 6-foot-10, 240-pound Kouma committed to the Illini on April 8. He joins 7-foot center and top-50 recruit Kofi Cockburn in Illinois' 2019 recruiting class and is expected to provide frontcourt depth.
A native of Chad, Kouma averaged 14.3 points, 11 rebounds and 1.5 blocks as a senior at Our Savior Lutheran in New York.
"We are excited to officially welcome Bernard Kouma to the Fighting Illini family," coach Brad Underwood said in a statement. "Bernard is a hard worker who has really improved during his years in the U.S. He is a skilled big who is a terrific rebounder, can use either hand around the basket, passes it well and has become a physical presence as his body has developed. He will strengthen our frontcourt with his ability to impact the game at both ends of the court."
With Kouma in the fold, the Illini have two unfilled scholarships for the 2019-20 season.
Northwestern: Chase Audige, a 6-foot-4 guard who played for William & Mary as a freshman this past season, announced Thursday evening he is transferring to Northwestern. He will have three seasons of eligibility beginning in 2020-21 after sitting out next season.
Audige, a Long Island native who played at The Hill School in Pennsylvania, was selected to the Colonial Athletic Association's all-rookie team after averaging 9.6 points, 4.1 rebounds and 2.4 assists and shooting 37.1 percent from 3-point range. He was also the Tribe's co-defensive MVP.
William & Mary fired coach Tony Shaver in March and hired Dane Fischer last month.
Audige told 247Sports.com's Evan Daniels "a big part" of his choosing Northwestern over Wake Forest was coach Chris Collins.
"I feel like we are similar," he said. "We are both underdogs in a way and we both have chips on our shoulder and we are about winning."
Loyola: Braden Norris, a 6-foot guard, is transferring to Loyola from Oakland University in Michigan.
He will sit out the 2019-20 season per NCAA rules and have three seasons of eligibility remaining, the Ramblers announced Monday.
Norris made the Horizon League all-freshman team last season after averaging 8.4 points and shooting 48.6 percent on 3-pointers. He was one of six freshmen nationally to rank in the top 25 in assist-to-turnover ratio at 2.75.
"We are thrilled to add Braden to our Loyola family," coach Porter Moser said in a statement. "The son of a coach, he is an ultra-competitor with an extremely high basketball IQ and was one of the top offensive efficiency players in the country last year. Braden has deep range and a quick release but also has a knack of getting the ball to guys when and where they need it.
"Despite all of that, what really excites me is his tenacity on defense. He reminds me of (former Rambler) Ben Richardson watching him defend. He's all about winning and fits in great with our culture."
Southern Illinois: Former Northwestern center Barret Benson announced Monday on Twitter that he has committed to Southern Illinois.
The 6-foot-10 Benson, a Willowbrook native who played at Hinsdale South, said last month he would transfer for his senior season and indicated he would graduate from Northwestern in three years and be eligible in 2019-20.
Benson averaged two points and 2.3 rebounds in 96 games (14 starts) over three seasons with the Wildcats. His field-goal percentage dipped each season from 59.1 percent as a freshman on Northwestern's first NCAA tournament team to 55.3 percent and finally to 40.3 percent this past season.
Benson will play in Carbondale for a fellow West Suburban Conference alumnus in first-year coach Bryan Mullins, the former Downers Grove South and SIU star who replaced Barry Hinson last month after six years on Porter Moser's Loyola staff.
Illinois: In a long-expected move, 6-11 center Antwan January announced Sunday night that he has decommitted from Illinois.
January committed to Illinois in November, but according to Illini Inquirer, he did not play his senior season at Santa Monica (Calif.) High School to focus on improving his grades. Once the Illini got a commitment earlier this month from 6-10 big man Bernard Kouma, multiple outlets reported January was unlikely to sign.
Illinois has one 2019 signee so far, 7-foot center and top-50 national recruit Kofi Cockburn. Assuming Kouma signs this spring, the Illini would have one open scholarship for next season.
A possibility to fill it might be 6-8 forward T.J. Holyfield, a graduate transfer from Stephen F. Austin. Illinois coach Brad Underwood recruited Holyfield to Stephen F. Austin and coached him during his freshman season, when he started every game for the NCAA tournament-bound Lumberjacks.
Illini Inquirer reported Monday that Holyfield will take an official visit to Illinois starting Thursday. The Albuquerque, N.M., native averaged 10.7 points and 5.9 rebounds over his first three college seasons but sat out last season with a shoulder injury. He's also considering Kansas and Texas Tech.
Illinois: Illini fans can finally exhale: Prized recruit Kofi Cockburn, who committed to the Illini in January, has signed his national letter of intent.
Cockburn tweeted a graphic indicating he had signed Tuesday night, six days into the spring signing period.
Illinois confirmed the signing Wednesday morning, with coach Brad Underwood calling the big man a "difference maker."
"It is rare that you see a young man with his size who also has great athleticism and agility," Underwood said in a statement. "He has a unique skill set to go along with his 7-foot, 290-pound frame in that he moves really well and is a good passer. With his size, ability to finish, and rebounding power, Kofi will impact the game on both ends of the floor."
The Jamaican-born Cockburn attends Oak Hill Academy in Virginia. The four-star prospect is the No. 41 recruit in the nation in the Class of 2019, according to 247Sports.com's composite rankings. He is the highest-rated post player to sign with Illinois since Trail Blazers center Meyers Leonard in 2010.
The Illini also expect 6-10 Bernard Kouma of New York to sign during the spring period. A third big man, 6-11 Antwan January of Santa Monica, Calif., is listed as an Illinois commitment but reportedly is unlikely to sign.
DePaul: The Blue Demons announced the transfer, reported Monday, of point guard Charlie Moore from Kansas. The 2016 Mr. Basketball winner in Illinois, the 5-11 Moore averaged 2.9 points and 1.3 assists in 35 games for the Jayhawks as a redshirt sophomore this past season. He averaged 12.2 points and 3.5 assists as a freshman at California in 2016-17.
"Charlie Moore adds an all-around experienced guard to our program that can shoot and distribute the ball at a high level," coach Dave Leitao said in a statement. "He also brings high-level experience from playing in both the Pac-12 and Big 12 conferences, and his return to his hometown is exciting for our fans and basketball fans in Chicago."
Northwestern: The Wildcats officially added the third member of their 2019 recruiting class when Jared Jones, a 6-10, 230-pound big man from suburban Atlanta, signed his national letter of intent. Jones, a three-star prospect and onetime Auburn commitment, committed to Northwestern in September but did not sign during the early period with four-star forward Robbie Beran of Richmond, Va., and three-star point guard Daniel Buie of Bethel, Maine.
Jones comes to Evanston from a powerhouse program at McEachern in Powder Springs, Ga., which went 32-0 this past season, won the Class 7A state title and was ranked No. 1 in the country by PrepNation. In a statement, coach Chris Collins called Jones "a winner and a high-character young man with a great work ethic" and said he "has an unbelievable combination of size, skill and athleticism."
With only six returning scholarship players, the Wildcats have four open scholarships for 2019-20 and have been exploring transfer options. Former Young guard Javon Freeman, who averaged 11 points as a freshman at Valparaiso this past season, visited last week.
Northwestern: On the first day of the spring signing period for the Class of 2019, the Wildcats landed their first commitment in the Class of 2020. Joe Bamisile, a 6-5 shooting guard from Richmond, Va., announced he will play for coach Chris Collins in Evanston. The Wildcats beat out Virginia Tech and Georgia Tech, among others, for Bamisile, who averaged 28.7 points as a junior.
While he's listed as a three-star recruit and ranked No. 212 in the nation in the 247Sports.com composite, which aggregates multiple recruiting services, 247's own rankings have Bamisile much higher: a four-star rating and No. 100 nationally.
Loyola: The Ramblers added to the three players they signed in November with a pair of junior-college transfers. Keith Clemons, a 6-1 guard originally from Norcross, Ga., and 6-4 guard Jalon Pipkins of Paris, Texas, will join the team in the fall with two seasons of eligibility.
Clemons averaged 15.1 points and 5.1 assists this past season for Vincennes (Ind.), which went 34-2 and won the NJCAA Division I national title. In a statement, coach Porter Moser called Clemons "an absolute winner" with "a high basketball IQ."
Pipkins, who began his college career at Cal State Northridge in 2017-18, averaged 21.4 points, 4.5 rebounds and 4.5 assists and shot 35.8 percent on 3-pointers for Paris Community College. Moser said Pipkins "has the athleticism to be a great two-way player in the (Missouri) Valley. He's long, competitive, has range from 3 and can finish at the rim."
They join Brother Rice guard Marquise Kennedy, Naperville North forward Tom Welch and guard Paxson Wojcik of La Lumiere in Indiana in the Ramblers' 2019 class.
Illinois: The Illini have commitments from three big men, although there are reports that 6-11 Antwan January of Santa Monica, Calif., is unlikely to sign.
The headliner of the class, 7-footer Kofi Cockburn of Oak Hill Academy in Virginia, told WCIA-TV's Bret Beherns he is waiting to sign when his mother arrives from Jamaica, likely Friday. Cockburn is a four-star recruit and the No. 41 prospect in the nation in the composite rankings.
The Illini also expect 6-10 Bernard Kouma of New York, who committed last week, to sign before the spring period ends May 15.
Illinois: The Illini reportedly have added a third player -- all three of them big men -- to their 2019 class. Bernard Kouma, a 6-10 power forward from Our Saviour Lutheran School in New York, committed to Illinois on Monday evening, according to a tweet from Pat Lawless of PrepCircuit.com.
Kouma would join 7-foot center Kofi Cockburn -- a four-star recruit and top-50 national prospect from Oak Hill Academy in Virginia -- and 6-11 center Antwan January, a three-star from Santa Monica, Calif., in Illinois' 2019 class.
Northwestern: Robbie Beran, the highest-rated recruit in program history, says he has "no concern" about the Wildcats' rash of transfers.
(c)2019 the Chicago Tribune
Visit the Chicago Tribune at www.chicagotribune.com
Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.