Long-time Illinois recruiting target Tim Finke from Champaign (Ill.) Central had to make some adjustments in his recruitment due to the college hoops coaching carousel.
Orange and Blue News spoke to Finke to talk about the impact that coaching changes had, and get the latest on his recruitment.
The home town program Illinois, where his brother Michael is a junior big man, made the change following the 2016-17 season and hired former Oklahoma State coach Brad Underwood.
Butler lost its head coach Chris Holtmann to Ohio State after the Buckeyes surprisingly let Thad Matta go earlier this month. The Bulldogs had long been on Finke's list
"Whenever a new coach comes in, you have to re-evaluate the schools and that's what I've done," Finke said. "You have to see their style of playing and things like that, and that's what I've been doing lately."
Illinois has seemed to be on the outside looking in, but Finke said he is getting to know Underwood and his staff and is giving Illinois serious consideration.
He was recently on campus at Illinois, and reportedly plans another visit this week to watch the Illinois squad work out. On his visit, Finke spent some time talking hoops with the staff and getting to know Underwood even better.
Style of play is one of the main things that Underwood is selling to Finke, and that appears to resonate. Underwood likes to play uptempo, and he had the fifth most efficient offense in the nation last season at Oklahoma State.
"They sat down and showed me some film on what they like to do, and how they would utilize me in their offense and their style of play," Finke said. "That was pretty big to see. They will utilize me, and you always want to know that. It was pretty intriguing, because he has won so much in the past. It shows you that what he does works."
During the off season, Underwood overturned the roster and added players that he believes will thrive in the system.
Finke looks like a great fit. A long and versatile wing, Finke can score from all three levels, handle the ball well, and finish at the rim.
"He says he loves versatile players, and he sees that I'm that," Finke said. "He plays position-less basketball. He needs people who are good passers and can score as well. You have to be able to run up and down the court. He showed me ways I could get the ball and make some plays in his offense"
Feedback from his brother Michael has also been positive. The Illini have been going through summer workouts.
"(Michael) said it's a different style, but he likes it a lot," Finke said. "His workouts are going really well, and he's improved a lot. He's improving every single day. This whole summer, he's been putting in a lot of work, as they all are. I think all of them will see major improvements this year, just from what he's been saying to us."
Elsewhere on the recruiting trail, Finke wants to visit Ohio State. The Buckeyes quickly extended an offer to Finke shortly after Holtmann was hired. Holtmann brought his entire Butler staff with him to Columbus.
"It's intriguing because I liked their whole staff that they had at Butler," Finke said. "Now they are going to Ohio State and it's a Big Ten school with a history of winning. I'm definitely looking at them pretty strongly."
At this time, Finke plans to take all five official visits before making his college decision. He currently lists a top five of Illinois, Ohio State, Notre Dame, Vanderbilt, and Oregon.
He doesn't have a specific timetable for a decision, and it may push past Nov. 8 when the fall signing period opens.
"I'm not going to push anything," he said. "I want to make sure I make the right decision. I'm trying to see everything, especially with these coaching changes. I'll sit down with my family and with the new staffs."
Besides dealing with the recruiting process, Finke still has work to do on the hardwood this summer. He runs with Meanstreets in Nike's EYBL. Finke said he has become more confident playing against top competition, is attacking the rim more, and has improved his rebounding.
Finke averaged 14.4 points and 5.6 rebounds per game in helping lead his team to an 11-5 record on the circuit. He teams with another Illini target, 4-star power forward Darius Bazley from Cincinnati (Ohio) Princeton.
"We won a lot more than people expected us to," Finke said. "I think we played as a team, and together, and that benefited me personally. I like to play in a team setting. I like to move the ball, a lot of action and ball movement. That gets everyone involved, and you feed off of that energy."
Next up is a trip to N. Augusta, SC July 12-16 for the EYBL Finals at the Nike Peach Jam. Orange and Blue News will have coverage of the event, which is the premiere AAU tournament of the summer.
Finke played in the Peach Jam last year with the St. Louis Eagles. He said his current squad is entering the tournament with the mindset of taking home the title.
"You go in there trying to win it," he said. "I played in it last year, and its a really cool atmosphere. This is my last year playing in it, and I want to go out winning it all."
Not yet a premium subscriber? Click on the promo below to start your free 7-day free trial, plus 50% off of an annual subscription if you like what you see.