John Groce has signed Leron Black (Memphis) and Michael Finke (Champaign, Ill.) to national letters of intent.
Nov. 16, 2013
Champaign, Ill. - University of Illinois head coach John Groce announced Saturday the signing of Leron Black and Michael Finke to national letters of intent.
Black is a 6-7 combination forward from Memphis. A consensus top-50 recruit, he attends White Station High School, where he averaged 18.5 points, 10.5 rebounds and 1.7 blocks last year as a junior. Black earned Class AAA All-State honors by the Tennessee Sports Writers Association and was a Best of the Preps selection by the Memphis Commercial Appeal.
Finke is a 6-9 forward from Champaign, Ill. He averaged 16.6 points and 7.6 rebounds as a junior, earning first-team All-State honors by the Associated Press and Champaign News-Gazette. Finke also was named All-Area Player of the Year by the News-Gazette after leading Centennial High School to a 22-9 record and IHSA Class 3A Sectional Final appearance.
"We are excited to officially welcome Leron and Michael to the Fighting Illini family," Groce said. "These are two talented players who fit our system and share our vision for the program. They also are tremendous young men of the highest character who come from great families and will serve as first-class representatives for the University of Illinois."
Combination Forward, 6-7, 220
Hometown: Memphis, Tenn.
High School / Coach: White Station / Jesus Patino
AAU Program / Coach: Team Thad / Norton Hurd
Notes: Consensus national top-50 recruit (No. 40 on rscihoops.com) ... Ranked No. 41 nationally by Rivals and ESPN, No. 42 by 247Sports and No. 47 by Scout ... Class AAA All-State Team by the Tennessee Sports Writers Association ... Pepsi Best of the Preps Class AAA Team by the Memphis Commercial Appeal ... Averaged 18.5 points, 10.5 rebounds and 1.7 blocks as a junior, leading White Station to a 22-6 record ... His high school enters the 2013-14 season ranked among the nation's top teams, including No. 5 in the Student Sports Fab 50, No. 12 in the USA Today Super 25, and No. 16 in the MaxPreps Xcellent 25 ... First player from Memphis to sign with the Fighting Illini since Cory Bradford in 1996 (Raleigh Egypt High School).
Groce on Black: "Leron is athletic, versatile and plays with a high motor. He is an outstanding rebounder and defender and has the ability to score both in the paint and with a face-up perimeter game as well. He will be an effective player at multiple positions in our system."
Forward, 6-9, 210
Hometown: Champaign, Ill.
High School / Coach: Centennial / Tim Lavin
AAU Program / Coach: Peoria Irish / Gavin Sullivan
Notes: IHSA Class 3A first-team All-State by the Associated Press ... First-team All-State by the Champaign News-Gazette ... Class 3A second-team All-State by the Chicago Sun-Times ... Second-team All-State by the Illinois Basketball Coaches Association ... Special Mention All-State by the Chicago Tribune ... News-Gazette All-Area Player of the Year ... Averaged 16.6 points and 7.6 rebounds as a junior, leading Centennial to a 22-9 record and IHSA Class 3A Sectional Final appearance.
Groce on Finke: "Michael is very skilled, a relentless worker and has a high basketball I.Q. He is an exceptional shooter who can stretch the defense with his ability to shoot it from 3-point range. Michael's father, Jeff, played basketball and football here at Illinois, so to have Michael also wear that Illini jersey is special for the Finke family."