Basketball Recruiting - Commitment breakdown: Ramses Melendez chooses Illinois
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Commitment breakdown: Ramses Melendez chooses Illinois

The No. 145 prospect in the 2021 class is off the board, as Kissimmee (Fla.) Central Pointe Christian Academy forward Ramses Melendez announced his intentions to sign with Illinois on Monday evening. Below, as a look at what the news means for the Illini and what Brad Underwood and company are getting.


Melendez is known primarily as a scorer but he’s developed into a stat sheet stuffer over the last couple of years. He has decent size and length and can get buckets at all three levels. He’s a consistent outside shooter and finishes at the bucket with decent regularity. He’s becoming a better rebounder and passer as a senior. Melendez is relatively battle tested as well, as the senior captured MVP honors in a league that features a number of teams with high-level college prospects a year ago. The Central Pointe Christian Academy star seems like a player that could slide up a bit in the final rankings and should have a well-rounded enough skill set to play serious minutes in Champaign as a freshman if he progresses as a defender.


Brad Underwood may have a sleeper on his hand here. The fourth-year Illini coach certainly believes in his talent, as he’s ached all the way down to Florida to grab the Puerto Rican-born wing. Melendez chose Illinois over offers from Oklahoma State, Ole Miss, Florida and a long list of other high-major programs. So while Melendez isn’t as highly ranked as fellow Illini commit Luke Goode, extracting him from SEC country is actually quite a feat. Underwood and staff identified his skill set early and got involved long before making this official with an offer in October. Melendez’s commitment came without an in-person campus visit of any kind, which makes the recruiting victory even more impressive.


“What I like most about Illinois is they're always checking in with me since my offer from them," Melendez said. "I pretty much talk to Antigua daily. That's the kind of relationship I have with him now." -- Melendez to Orange and Blue News in December

"The relationship (with assistant coach Orlando Antigua) is very good," Melendez said. "He's Latino, so we can speak Spanish and English to each other. It's great to have a Latino coach recruiting me." -- Melendez to Orange and Blue News following his virtual visit in late October.