D.J. Richardson, Brandon Paul, Tyler Griffey and Joseph Bertrand have all signed with Bruce Weber's Fighting Illini.
Nov. 12, 2008
Champaign, Ill. - University of Illinois men's basketball head coach Bruce Weber announced today the signing of four student-athletes to national letters of intent on the first day of the fall signing period in D.J. Richardson, Brandon Paul, Tyler Griffey and Joseph Bertrand. The Recruiting Services Consensus Index lists all four players in the Top 100, giving the Fighting Illini the No.8-ranked class in the nation by Rivals.com and No. 13 nationally by Scout.com.
"We are pleased to officially welcome these four outstanding players to our program," Weber said. "D.J, Brandon, Tyler and Joseph are talented young men who come from wonderful families. They are all among the top prospects in the country and will have a major impact on our team. It's been well documented that these players have been committed to us for a long time. I talked to each one of them last night and I can't tell you how excited they are about coming to the University of Illinois and joining the Fighting Illini basketball family."
Richardson, a 6-3 guard, is a Peoria, Ill. native. He is enrolled at Findlay College Prep in Henderson, Nev. after previously attending Peoria Central H.S. Richardson is a Top 50 player nationally who earned second-team All-State honors last season. He led the Mid-State 6 Conference in scoring as a junior, averaging 17.8 points, and burst onto the national scene last summer at the Nike Peach Jam where he was the tournament's No. 2 scorer, averaging more than 21 points. Richardson's coach at Findlay is Michael Peck, while his coach at Peoria Central was Dan Ruffin. He is a member of the Illinois Warriors AAU team, coached by Larry Butler.
Paul, another 6-3 guard, hails from Gurnee, Ill. and attends Warren Township High School. Another national Top 50 recruit, Paul was a first-team All-State selection by the Associated Press last season. He averaged 20 points and six rebounds as a junior, also earning second-team All-State accolades by the Chicago Sun-Times and Illinois Basketball Coaches Association. Paul's coach at Warren is Chuck Ramsey. He is a member of the Team NLP AAU program, coached by former Chicago Bull Dickey Simpkins.
Griffey, a 6-9 forward from Wildwood, Mo., attends Lafayette High School. A Top 100 player nationally, Griffey averaged 17.8 points, 8.7 rebounds and 2.8 blocks last season, earning Class 5 All-State Team honors by the Missouri Basketball Coaches Association. He also was chosen to the United States Team for Adidas Nations, traveling across the country as well as to Europe and Africa for a number of developmental programs and games. Griffey's coach at Lafayette is Scott Allen, who is in his first year in charge of the program. His previous coach was long-time head coach Dave Porter, who retired following last season. Griffey is a member of the St. Louis Gateway AAU team, coached by Scott Schroepfer.
Bertrand is a 6-5 guard from Sterling, Ill. High School. Another national Top 100 recruit, he earned second-team All-State honors last season after leading Sterling to the Class 3A Super-Sectional. Bertrand averaged 14.3 points, 4.8 rebounds, 4.7 assists and 1.7 steals as a junior and scored a career-high 38 points in a sectional semifinal win over Burlington Central. He also is the reigning IHSA Slam Dunk champion in Class 3A. Bertrand's coach at Sterling is Peter Goff. He is a member of the Illinois Wolves AAU program, coached by Mike Mullins.
Hometown: Peoria, Ill.
High School: Findlay Prep (Henderson, Nev.)
High School Coach: Michael Peck
AAU Program: Illinois Warriors
AAU Coach: Larry Butler
Notes: Consensus Top-50 recruit (No. 43 on rscihoops.com) ... Ranked No. 32 nationally by Hoop Scoop, No. 39 by Prep Stars, No. 55 by Hoopmasters, No. 56 by Scouts, Inc., No. 57 by Rivals and No. 66 by Scout ... First-Team All-State by Champaign-Urbana News-Gazette ... Second-Team All-State by Associated Press and Chicago Sun-Times ... Special Mention All-State by Chicago Tribune ... Peoria Journal Star All-Area Team ... Led Mid-State 6 Conference in scoring, averaging 17.8 points along with six rebounds ... No. 2 scorer at Nike Peach Jam, averaging 21 points.
Weber on Richardson: "D.J. is your prototypical Peoria player. He is tough, plays hard all the time, and just loves to play, especially on the defensive end. He has really elevated his game over the last six months and has taken his scoring ability to another level. He made a major statement on the national scene at the Peach Jam last summer."
Hometown: Gurnee, Ill.
High School: Warren Township
High School Coach: Chuck Ramsey
AAU Program: Team NLP
AAU Coach: Dickey Simpkins
Notes: Consensus Top-50 recruit (No. 47 on rscihoops.com) ... Ranked No. 31 nationally by Prep Stars, No. 34 by Hoop Scoop, No. 35 by Hoopmasters, No. 44 by Rivals and No. 88 by Scout ... First-Team All-State by Associated Press and Champaign-Urbana News-Gazette ... Second-Team All-State by Chicago Sun-Times and Illinois Basketball Coaches Association ... Special Mention All-State by Chicago Tribune ... All-Area by Chicago Sun-Times and Daily Herald ... North Suburban All-Conference Selection and Warren Team MVP, averaging 20 points and six rebounds ... Pontiac Holiday All-Tournament Team.
Weber on Paul: "Brandon is a tremendously gifted athlete. He has length, quickness, and outstanding jumping ability. Brandon is another guy that has taken off in the last year; he's really learning how to utilize that athleticism. He had a great summer and won wherever he went, at the NBA Players Association Camp, LeBron James Skills Academy, Peach Jam and AAU Nationals in Orlando."
Hometown: Wildwood, Mo.
High School: Lafayette
High School Coach: Scott Allen
AAU Program: St. Louis Gateway
AAU Coach: Scott Schroepfer
Notes: Consensus Top-100 recruit (No. 92 on rscihoops.com) ... Ranked No. 69 nationally by Scouts, Inc., No. 84 by Hoop Scoop, No. 92 by Scout, No. 93 by Prep Stars, No. 94 by Hoopmasters and No. 127 by Rivals ... Traveled to France, Africa and across the United States as a member of the U.S. Adidas Nations Team, coached by Paul Silas ... Missouri Basketball Coaches Association Class 5 All-State Team ... Third-Team All-Metro by St. Louis Post-Dispatch ... Averaged 17.8 points, 8.7 rebounds and 2.8 blocks.
Weber on Griffey: "Tyler is a player we've followed since he was in eighth grade. He really benefited from the opportunity with the Adidas Nations team, traveling all over the country and overseas with other elite players and facing great competition. Tyler is a skilled forward that has strength and size. He can face up and shoot as well as play inside."
Hometown: Sterling, Ill.
High School: Sterling
High School Coach: Peter Goff
AAU Program: Illinois Wolves
AAU Coach: Mike Mullins
Notes: Consensus Top-100 recruit (No. 94 on rscihoops.com) ... Ranked No. 38 nationally by Hoop Scoop, No. 75 by Hoopmasters and No. 116 by Rivals ... Sauk Valley Newspapers Player of the Year ... Second-Team All-State by Associated Press, Chicago Sun-Times and Champaign-Urbana News-Gazette ... Special Mention All-State by Chicago Tribune ... IHSA Class 3A Slam Dunk Champion ... Averaged 14.3 points, 4.8 rebounds, 4.7 assists and 1.7 steals ... Led team to Class 3A Super-Sectional, Sterling's first Elite Eight appearance since 1941 ... Scored career-high 38 points in Sectional Semifinal victory over Burlington Central.
Weber on Bertrand: "Joseph is another gifted athlete with natural ability. He has tremendous court vision, ball-handling skills and his best trait right now is his passing ability. He is just scratching the surface of his potential as he continues to grow and mature."