TOWSON, Md. (WCIA) — Wearing bright orange shoes that clash with his high school’s black, purple, and gold, Illinois basketball signee Amani Hansberry isn’t afraid to rep his school deep behind enemy lines.

“I wanted to show I was with the Illinois fam,” Hansberry said about his shoes.

The 6-foot-8, 225-pound forward is feeling right at home with his college choice. He’s not the first Marylander to make the jump from the Old Line state to Orange and Blue, following in the footsteps of Baltimore native Chester Frazier. The former Illini is now on Brad Underwood’s staff as an assistant coach, following a standout career at Illinois more than a decade ago. Frazier’s Maryland connection paved the way for Hansberry to pick the Illini, the fifth Top 75 prospect in the past two years alone.

“All the time he mentions to me, ‘I came from Maryland to Illinois and I love it out here, I know you would love it’, that helped me a lot,” Hansberry said about Chester. “He’s a dog trainer, he’s a dog himself. He’s going to push me, and I’m ready for it for sure.”

“He started a group chat with Amani’s aunt, his grandmother, his brother, his sister,” Paul Hansberry, Amani’s father said. “He would hit us every morning, ‘Hey family, what y’all doing?'”

Hansberry is the No. 1 player in the state of Maryland and looks the part already but seeing Illinois’ history of player development only helped seal the deal for him.

“Big time, just the body transformation, the 3-point transformation,” he said. “Coleman Hawkins, he’s shooting over 30 percent this year. That’s big. Plus when I want on the visit, I saw those guys work. I saw the facilities. It gave me more faith in the program, the culture. It made sense.”

“He’s kind of that consummate 6-8 guy who has versatility and an extremely high IQ so very, very excited to have him,” Illinois head coach Brad Underwood said. “Every time we watched him this summer, we looked up and he had a double-double.”

Hansberry scored 12 points to help Mt. St. Joseph down Loyola Blakefield Saturday. Wearing an Illini sweatshirt after the game, the forward is already looking forward to competing in Orange and Blue in the Big Ten. But he still has goals to accomplish with his high school team, as they look to repeat as state champs in Maryland.