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July 31, 2014
4-star guard visiting Illini
4-star guard Jimmy Whitt from Columbia (Mo.) Hickman trimmed his list to nine schools, with Illinois making the first cut. Now Whitt, a 6-foot-2 combo-guard, is in Champaign on Friday for an unofficial visit.
His relationship with head coach John Groce is what draws Whitt to the Illini.
"Coach Groce says all the right things, he presented me with information about Illinois academically and they had all the things that not only I want to know but what my parents are looking for in a school," Whitt said.
Even though assistant Jamall Walker has done a lot of the recruiting, Groce is very much involved. Whitt says he thinks he is a good fit in the Illini's ball-screen offense.
"One of the things I like about Illinois is Groce talked about his system of play which fits me perfectly with a strong offense with a lot of ball screen action," Whitt said. "I want to go to a place where those types of plays will be to my strength as a basketball player."
Whitt talked about what he is looking when he arrives on campus in Champaign.
"That's easy, a feel of the coaches, just to be able to meet them, and sit down with them and
talk face to face," Whitt said. "I have heard so many great things about (Groce) as a coach and his style of play. I can imagine myself playing there."
There are no clear leaders at this point - Whitt has a level of interest in all nine schools that made his list.
Rivals.com ranks Whitt the No. 52 player in the class of 2015. He is'nt resting on his 4-star status. Whitt has several areas of his game that he wants to improve.
"I need to improve on my shooting range, three point shooting, and increase each of those percentages," he said. "I would also like to get bigger, add strength, and speed. I feel like my biggest asset is my ability to score, I feel I use the ball screen at a high level, and can get to the rim or pull up with the mid-range shot.