Building out the class of 2021 seems to be a priority right now for the Illini, and they have started this class off with a bang. On April 16, Illinois was able to land top 100 shooting guard Luke Goode. He is going to be sensational for this program. But there is a lot more work to do. We did move one step closer to adding another big-time talent to the mix in Jaden Hardy as well.
Hardy is a 6’4”, 190 lbs. combo guard from Coronado High School and resides in Henderson, Nevada. He is rated as a five-star recruit who is a top-10 player in the class of 2021 and the No. 1 combo guard in the nation. He was named the Gatorade Player of the Year in the state of Nevada.
The fact we are in the running for a player like Hardy is something I would not have imagined just five years ago. But the Brad Underwood regime is a different animal. This coaching staff can not only coach, but they can recruit their butts off as well.
Hardy has roughly 25 scholarship offers, and they are all from big-time programs. But, on April 16th, the talented guard was ready to narrow that list down to just 12 programs. The teams that made the cut included Arizona, Kansas, Arizona State, Memphis, Georgia, Michigan, UCLA, Kentucky, Texas Tech, Oregon, Georgetown, and Illinois. Wow, what a list and what a tough group to beat out.
The last AAU numbers to register for Hardy was in 2019 between his sophomore and junior year in high school. He averaged 20.6 points, 3.8 rebounds, 2.3 assists and 1.2 steals per game that summer. I also want to point out that he shot 47-percent from the field and 37.6-percent from three-point range, both are solid numbers.
When you watch what Hardy can do on the basketball court, you will instantly realize why he is a top 10 recruit for the class of 2021. The kid is the complete package.
Hardy’s shooting is great. He can hit shots from anywhere on the court. His release of the ball reminds me a lot of Kyle Korver. The buttery flow to his shot is fun to watch. I also love his bulldog mentality. Hardy does not settle for shots often. He can get to the rim, but he also recognizes this causes defenses to collapse on him. The ability to see that and hit the open man will pay great dividends at the next level.
If Illinois can land a player like Hardy, that one season would be incredible for the program. This kid is not just going to be great at the college level, I think he is going to be a really good player in the NBA too.