With the new ESPN 100 player rankings out and as the 2014 basketball recruiting cycle picks up heading into the July evaluation periods, here's a look at how each team in the Big Ten is shaping up in the 2014 recruiting class. Team-by-team recruiting capsules for the Big 12 (Tuesday), Pac-12 (Wednesday), ACC (Thursday), SEC (Friday), AAC (next Monday) and Big East (next Tuesday) will be coming in subsequent days.
Note: Teams are as of conference alignment for the 2013-14 season.
Who they have: The Illini have local four-star power forward Michael Finke already on board. Finke is an excellent system fit because of his ability to stretch the defense with his shooting range and his ability to pass and run the floor.
Who they want: The No. 1A and 1B targets for coach John Groce and his staff are center Jahlil Okafor and power forward Cliff Alexander, a pair of Chicago products who are also the top two players nationally in the 2014 class. ESPN 100 point guards JaQuan Lyle and Larry Austin and ESPN 100 forwards Paul White and Trevon Bluiett round out the marquee names at this stage of the recruiting process.
Storyline to watch: How many in-state targets will decide to head downstate to Champaign from the fertile recruiting ground of Chicago as Groce continues to try to build the program with the state's most talented prospects?
Bold prediction: Groce wins the race for Alexander and lands one of the state's and the country's biggest recruiting prizes, giving the Illini an immediate-impact player and potential one-and-done lottery pick.
Overall recruiting trend: Illinois recruiting is definitely trending up after landing the nation's No. 15 class in 2013, including a trio of four-star prospects, three overall from Illinois, and two from local and national power Chicago Simeon.