Underwood ‘still waiting’ on Kouma’s future with Illinois


URBANA (WCIA) — Brad Underwood was a popular guy at the Illini Rebounders annual golf outing at Stone Creek on Wednesday. The Illinois basketball coach spent the majority of his afternoon on the fourth tee, taking pictures with groups playing in the fundraiser, often times hitting tee shots. The golf fan loves to get out on the course, when he can, even though time hasn’t allowed it very often the past few months.

A new recruiting calendar has limited his free time, as the third-year Illini coach tried to complete his recruiting class for this season. Underwood welcomed Lincoln grad Jermaine Hamlin to the team officially on Tuesday, giving Illinois 14 scholarship players. The problem is, there are just 13 spots allotted for scholarship players, per NCAA rules. So what gives? That’s where Bernard Kouma enters the picture. The freshman big man signed a Big Ten tender of financial aid, meaning he’s part of the program. But he has not cleared the NCAA clearinghouse to officially enroll in school.

“I don’t talk about young guys that are in a situation with the eligibility center,” Underwood said at the golf outing. “We’re waiting on a ruling that we will hopefully know at some point, and as with a lot of international guys it’s never as easy as it is with a local guy, but we’ll see where that takes us.”

Illinois has signed three guys in the last few weeks, welcoming transfers Jacob Grandison (Holy Cross) and Austin Hutcherson (Wesleyan), along with Hamlin.

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