WCIA — Illinois basketball officially added two 4-star recruits to the program on the opening day of the early signing period on Wednesday, with Jayden Epps and Sencire Harris signing their National Letter of Intent. The Class of 2022 guards are both ranked in the Top 100 nationally.
“Both of these young men come from programs and have been involved with programs where they’ve been very successful,” Illinois head coach Brad Underwood said. “They’ve been very well coached, they’ve been challenged, and all those things go hand and hand with winning. We’re excited, they meet our needs, we know we’ve got losses, and we feel like these two young guys can step in and fill those spots.”
Epps is a 6-foot-2, 190-ound guard originally from Virginia but is playing his senior season at Combine Academy in North Carolina. The 59th ranked player in the Class of 2022 by 247Sports was originally committed to Providence before decommitting and pledging to play for the Illini, recruited primarily by new assistant coach and former Illini Chester Frazier.
“Jayden can play multiple guard spots and has tremendous scoring ability,” Underwood said in a statement. “I love his ability to shoot it from three, and he’s got great quickness off the bounce. You couple that with a strong, physical body that’s Big Ten ready, and that will allow him on the defensive side to be as good of a two-way guard as we’ve recruited here. Jayden is always in the gym, has a tremendous commitment to basketball and maturity about him that is extremely impressive. He’s a guy who will continue to get better because he puts in so much work and time into it.”
Harris stands 6-foot-4 and checks in at 180 pounds, out of Ohio. The 98th ranked player in the Class of 2022 according to 247Sports plays at St. Vincent-St. Mary High School, the same prep program Lebron James suited up at. Harris averaged 14 points, 4 rebounds, 3 steals and 3 assists as a junior, leading his team to the 2021 Ohio Division II state championship with a 25-2 record.
“Sencire is a versatile guard who has an unbelievable ceiling,” Underwood said in a statement. “He can score it. He can play on the ball. He can go and get his own anytime he wants, and that’s a very hard thing to do. He’s got great length, quick twitch, can dunk on you at the rim, and makes really difficult shots when guarded. What I like most about Sencire is he is the ultra-competitor. He’s a winner. I love his spirit and we’re excited to have him wearing the Orange and Blue.”