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November 12, 2012
A decision from top-100 big man Austin Colbert was supposed to be coming last week. After a slight delay, the senior was ready to announce on Monday.
Ranked No. 92 nationally, the four-star from Gladstone (N.J.) Gill St. Bernard's made his decision public Monday afternoon. He rounds out what was already a strong first recruiting effort for Groce and his staff.
Very fluid from one end of the floor to another, Colbert is a long and athletic 6-foot-9 center who has developed into a good shot-blocker. He is quick and agile in the lane, has good reactions and is a fundamentally sound big man who simply needs to add some beef to play in the Big Ten.
He's a big who runs the floor very hard. He's great at the pick-and-pop offense that a lot of schools are adopting," said Rob Brown, his Team Final coach. "He's also very vocal on both sides of the floor. In the back of the zone or press, he puts everyone in great position because of his communicating. He's also a great teammate.
"Now he does have to put on weight and add strength, but I'm sure that's already known by his future coaches.(He) also has to be more willing to mix it up inside. Get a little dog in him."
The Illini are going to be looking to play fast and he fits into that style of play and has a good skill level that the Illini should be able to develop further while building him into a reliable post-scoring option.
With Colbert now officially on board, the Illini are the owners of what is a strong five-man class. Given that they took the job in the spring and had to work from behind on most of their targets, it's even more impressive that they've been able to put together a class that will push for the national top 10.
Along with Colbert, the Illini plan to sign in-state four-star wings Kendrick Nunn and Malcolm Hill who will provide scoring pop on the perimeter. Three-star point guard Jaylon Tate is a solid and steady point guard while three-star big man Maverick Morgan has the size and skill to play either the four or the five.
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