Basketball Recruiting - Illinois snatches late bloomer Brandon Lieb
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Illinois snatches late bloomer Brandon Lieb

Brandon Lieb
Brandon Lieb (Chicago Sun-Times)

Needing another interior piece for the upcoming season, Illinois didn’t have to go far from home in plugging such a hole. Brandon Lieb, a 7-footer from the state, gave his verbal commitment to the Big 10 program.

“They have always been the dream school,” he said. “I get to play for my own state and such a great program. You can’t beat the academics and being close to home. I had a Zoom (call) with the staff and I really just had that gut feeling that they were the one.”

2020 Rankings: Rivals150 | Team | Position

2021 Rankings: Rivals150 | Position

2022 Rankings: Top 75

Lieb was one of the breakout names of the spring. Graduating this year but originally planning on taking a prep season in the fall, Lieb changed plans thanks to the onslaught of offers that came his way in recent weeks. Within the past month, DePaul, Oklahoma, Oklahoma State and Utah each offered Lieb, while a bevy of other respectable programs were beginning to show interest leading up to his commitment.

In Lieb, the Illini will bring in a big body that runs the floor with a purpose and is a solid rebounder within his area. He has good touch and can score over either shoulder out of the low-post region. He can also extend the floor with the jumper to 22-feet, a shot that he can hit out of the trail position on the fastbreak, and off of the pick-and-pop. He is not a light of foot athlete but is someone that can defend his ground, change shots at the rim and competes.

The fourth member of Illinois’ 2020 class, Lieb will join Coleman Hawkins in the frontcourt in the fall, though the two can play together at the same time thanks to their complementary skillsets. Top-40 guards Adam Miller and Andre Curbelo will also enroll, infusing the Big 10 program with talent, toughness and versatility.