congratulations jereme richmond & billy garrett jr

by Prez Ro 

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Two local basketball players make BIG decisions about their future playing endeavors...

Jereme Richmond

Illinois freshman and former Mr. Illinois Basketball Jereme Richmond has declared for the NBA draft and will not return to Champaign, Illinois.

The announcement came from the school which sent shock through the sporting world.

"I enjoyed my time at the University of Illinois and would like to thank the coaching staff and my teammates for everything they've done for me," Richmond said in a statement. "At this time, I'm ready to follow my dreams and achieve my life-long goal of playing in the NBA."
Jereme had an outstanding high school career and a some-what opposite collegiate path. During his short duration with Illinois, he missed the team's two NCAA tournament games due to an athletic code violation and also sat out a previous game after returning home due to a personal matter.

On the court, he showed flashes of what made him the high school phenom, but he also struggled at times. He averaged 7.6 points and 5.0 rebounds in 31 games.

"Jereme is an extremely talented player who helped us at nearly every position," Illinois coach Bruce Weber said in a statement. "His versatility and ability to impact the game in a number of different areas are skills that will help him greatly as he pursues his dream of playing professional basketball. We wish Jereme the best and thank him for all he has meant to the Illinois basketball program, from the time he committed as a high school freshman through his contributions this past season."

Richmond is currently working out in Chicago and has various options for an agent, according to the release.

Weber said last week Richmond had been attending team workouts and was expected to return next season.

NOTE: At the time of this writing, ESPN NBA draft analyst Chad Ford has Richmond ranked as the No. 45th best prospect in 2011 and has him going anywhere from the late first round to early second round.

Many message boards went up after the news began spreading and the main question was did Richmond make the right decision? Right now, who knows, but we do wish him well.

Billy Garrett Jr.
The other news that hit the wire fast was 6'4" guard sensation, Billy Garrett Jr. will join his dad at DePaul has his college of choice. Garrett, who played two years so far with Morgan Park commitment to the Blue Demons. His dad, Billy Garrett Sr., just finished his second year as an assistant coach.
"I've been talking it over with my family for a while," Garrett Jr. said. "I was going to do it eventually anyway, so might as well do it now."

DePaul is definitely building something special right now with lots of Chicago-born talent headed that way including Crete-Monee’s Jamee Crockett, Rich South’s Macari Brooks and former Maine East guard Charles McKinney. Also with Garrett's commitment, they could field a three-guard lineup in 2013-14 that features current starting PG Brandon Young, incoming PG Shane Larkin and Garrett.

I’m not sure how close they are today (you know how kids grow apart when they go to different high schools), but Garrett and Simeon’s Jabari Parker used to be best friends and Parker hung out at the Garrett home all the time. Parker, of course, is Chicago’s most prestigious player in a loaded 2013 recruiting class.

In fact, there are about 8-10 high-major recruits from Chicago in this class. Imagine if Garrett’s influence helps to land even one other blue-chipper? Or if he helps get two? Suddenly DePaul is that much further along the rebuilding path.

Garrett Jr. did state that "I can help them recruit. If we can get five players from the city, I think we could potentially go a long way in the NCAA tournament."

Here is ESPN's Profile of Garrett, Jr.

picture courtesy of Gary Middendorf

Again, we wish both of the young men the very best!!!


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