2013 point guard Jalen James has decided to reopen his recruitment after committing to Illinois last September. Though he had previously told Rivals.com that he would stick with the Illini following the hiring of John Groce, the two sides parted ways Wednesday.
Though the guard runs with the Illinois Wolves AAU team and is a native of the state, he is playing his prep ball at La Lumiere School in LaPorte, Indiana. This past season, his first at the school, he was able to team up with future B1G players Hanner Perea, Jay Simpson and Raphael Davis.
James was influential in the recruitment of Malcolm Hill (SG, Belleville East), who is now the only member of Illinois’ current 2013 class. Hill committed to the Illini just a day after James and has recently confirmed his loyalty to the school and the new coaching staff. Hill is a rising star, currently ranked #52 nationally by Rivals.
The news comes just one day after the Illini lost new assistant coach Isaac Chew to Marquette. According to Mike Mullins, James’ AAU coach, James has already been contacted by Marquette, SMU, DePaul, Nebraska and several others. SMU hired former Illini player/coach Jerrance Howard as an assistant this off-season, as they are entering their first season under Hall of Fame coach Larry Brown. Expect to see Kansas State get involved, as their new head coach Bruce Weber is the man who James committed to in the first place.
James tweeted his support for the program shortly after the news was announced: “I wish Coach Groce And The Illini Staff The Best Of Luck In The Future!”