French junior basketball player Zacharie Perrin joins Illinois Fighting Illini

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French junior basketball player Zacharie Perrin joins Illinois Fighting Illini

Zacharie Perrin, a top international basketball player, has signed to the University of Illinois, he told ESPN on Tuesday.

“Coach Underwood and Coach Alexander have developed a very detailed plan for taking my skill and body to the next level,” Perrin said via text message. “They analyzed my film, found my strengths and weaknesses, and came up with a plan that made a lot of sense. They are a successful program that has had back-to-back Big Ten championships. They’re also a team that needed a rotation big, so there’s a chance I can help them right away.”

Perrin, 17, who stands 6’1″ and weighs 220 pounds, is believed to be one of the most promising European candidates for the college route in the Class of 2022. A late bloomer who was just 6ft 4 in 2019, he was almost a complete unknown before securing a surprise berth with France’s under-18 national team at last summer’s European Championships as a 16-year-old, where he emerged as one of the team’s top scorers and rebounders.

Perrin was named MVP of the Adidas Next Generation qualifier tournament in Patras, Greece last April after scoring 17.7 points and 10.7 rebounds in 31 minutes per game. He was later named to the Next Generation All-Star Team at the Euroleague Final Four in Belgrade, Serbia in May, where he averaged 10 points and 5.8 rebounds in 23 minutes per game. He spent last season playing for Antibes in France’s Liga Espoirs Pro B, where he was named MVP after posting 21.5 points, 10.9 rebounds, 2.7 assists and 1. Made 5 steals and converted 68% of his 2-point attempts, 26% of his 3-point attempts in 24 games.

“I didn’t consider college until very late in the process as I was focused on turning pro with Antibes,” Perrin said. “UCLA, Texas, Florida, Memphis, and BYU all recruited me, but the Big Ten’s facilities, staff, and overall level made it difficult to skip Illinois. As the college programs began to present their projects, I realized that this is what I wanted to do. I didn’t have many European options outside of Antibes due to French league regulations.

Perrin, who won’t turn 18 until the end of August, will be one of the youngest players in college basketball next season. He plans to register in Illinois after completing the FIBA ​​European Under-18 Championship, which will be held in Izmir, Turkey, in the first week of August. Perrin at left caught the attention of international scouts and collegiate coaches with his height, wingspan, physique, suppleness, touch and scoring instincts. He played offensively with a level of confidence that belied his lack of experience.

“My goal first and foremost is to become a better basketball player. I’m only 17 years old and I still need a lot of physical development. There’s no better place to gain strength than college. I will also focus on becoming a Becoming a basketball player very good outside shooter I think I can be a very tough mismatch on both a 4 with my size and a 5 with my shooting and speed so hopefully in a few years that will take me to a high level pro Basketball.

Illinois is seeing some turnover with last season’s roster winning a share of the Big Ten championship. Leading scorers Kofi Cockburn, Alfonso Plummer and Trent Frazier have all been relegated to the pro ranks, while Jacob Grandison and Andre Curbelo joined Duke and St John’s respectively. In their place, Illinois landed two of the top players on the NCAA transfer portal in Baylor’s Matthew Mayer and Texas Tech’s Terrence Shannon Jr., as well as a strong recruiting class consisting of four-star prospect Skyy Clark (No. 25 in ESPN 100). , Ty Rodgers (No. 52), Jayden Epps (No. 83) and Sencire Harris (unranked). Junior Coleman Hawkins, a proposed NBA draft pick next season, and sophomore RJ Melendez are expected to emerge as starters and potential All-Big-Ten players. ESPN’s Jeff Borzello ranked Illinois 25th in his preseason rankings.

Perrin is Illinois’ 12th scholarship recipient and is expected to be the latest addition to the roster this summer.

Jonathan Givony is an NBA draft expert and the founder and co-owner of DraftExpress.com, a private scouting and analysis service used by NBA, NCAA, and international teams.

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