March Madness

Illinois lands commitment from five-star Canadian wing Will Riley

Illinois lands commitment from five-star Canadian wing Will Riley

Illinois added a marquee name to its roster on Sunday, when five-star Will Riley announced his intention to sign with Brad Underwood’s program. Riley chose Illinois over finalists Alabama, Arizona and Kentucky as well as the New Zealand's National Basketball League. Below, Rivals national analyst Rob Cassidy explores what Illinois is getting in Riley as well as what his pledge means for the big picture.

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WHAT ILLINOIS IS GETTING

The Canadian-born Riley has been one of the more consistently effective prospects in the country over the last calendar year. And while his herky-jerky game is a bit unconventional from an aesthetics standpoint, both his film and his numbers are undeniable. The 6-foot-9 Riley’s 29 PPG average ranks sixth in the EYBL this season. He’s also averaging 4.7 rebounds and better than two assists per contest on the nation’s top grassroots circuit. Riley has become a more consistent long-range shooter over the past year and also possesses a quick pull-up jumper and the ability to get to the rim thanks to a quick first step and a reliable but awkward handle. The term “three-level scorer” is overused in modern basketball, but Riley is the textbook definition of the phrase. He’ll need to continue to develop as a defender but his length and basketball IQ suggest he’ll do so. He trusts himself too much at times from a passing standpoint, which can lead to turnovers. Still, coaches can live with his aggression on that front, as Riley puts incredible pressure on defenders from whistle to whistle.

WHAT IT MEANS FOR THE ILLINI

Riley is a strong reclassification candidate and will likely end up a member of Illinois’ 2024 class, which includes top-30 prospect Morez Johnson, one of the most dominant rebounders and low-post scorers in the country. Riley and Johnson’s games complement each other well, as they fill in gaps for each other. Meanwhile, international prospects Tomislav Ivisic (a 7-foot center) and Kasparas Jakucionis (a 6-foot-5 guard) provide even more length for a recruiting haul that really pops from a size and versatility standpoint.

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