CHAMPAIGN (WCIA) — Illinois basketball is getting a mid-year boost to its frontcourt. Zacharie Perrin was officially added to the roster on Tuesday and is immediately eligible, with the 6-foot-10 Frenchman completing his long journey to Champaign and the Illini. Perrin is on campus and will start practice soon, according to head coach Brad Underwood. What to expect out of the freshman this season is still unknown.
“I have no idea,” Underwood said about how long he thinks it will take Perrin to get up to speed. “We’re not going to rush the process, he’ll have the opportunity to get a lot of scout team minutes. Geoff Alexander has put in a ton of time in helping Zach get here, go through the process, the recruitment, everything involved.”
And there has been a lot to making Perrin officially an Illini. After signing a Big Ten Tender of Financial Aid in June, Perrin never made it to Champaign. Instead he ended up at Sunrise Christian Prep in Wichita, Kansas in August, attending the school for the fall semester. He didn’t play a game for the team though, electing just to work out.
“The process has not been without challenges,” Underwood said. “We had no idea a month ago, six weeks ago what this would look like. We just stayed diligent to him and with his work ethic he stayed very committed and it paid off for him.”
Underwood announced Perrin as part of his signing Class of 2023 in November but didn’t elaborate on whether or not he expected the forward to enroll early or wait until next summer.
Perrin played professionally with the French Pro B league last season, named MVP after averaging 21 points, 11 rebounds, 2 assists and 1.5 steals per game. He was the leader for Team France in the FIBA U18 European Championships this summer in Turkey, posting 14 points and 9 rebounds per game while shooting 56 percent from the field, with the team taking fifth in the event.