This is Amelia Rayno's third season on the Gophers men's basketball beat. She learned college basketball in North Carolina (Go Tar Heels!), where fanhood is not an option. In 2010, she joined the Star Tribune after graduating from Boston's Emerson College, which sadly had no exciting D-I college hoops to latch onto. Amelia has also worked on the sports desk at the Boston Globe and interned at the Detroit News.

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Recruiting update on Alex Illikainen

Posted by: Amelia Rayno under College basketball, Gophers players Updated: September 20, 2012 - 9:29 AM

Grand Rapids recruit Alex Illikainen still has a year and four months before he can start going on official visits, but if he keeps up his current pace, he’s going to be pretty knowledgeable by then.

 
The 6-9, 210-pound sophomore has visited five of the schools that have offered him, including Minnesota multiple times. Right now, with nothing but time, he says his list is wide open and he’s just gathering information.
 
Meanwhile, more schools are taking interested. Some notes:
 
  • Illikainen’s current offers include: Minnesota, Nebraska, Creighton, Iowa State, Northern Iowa, North Dakota State and Oregon.
  • Illikainen has visited each of those schools except North Dakota State and Oregon, but the forward is heading to the Ducks on Thursday for an unofficial visit. He said he will be visiting Minnesota again either Thursday or Monday for an unofficial tour.
  • A trip to Indiana – who has shown interest, but hasn’t offered Illikainen yet – could be in the plans for this fall also. The sophomore says he wants to but isn’t sure if he’ll find the time.
  • Iowa has made contact, Illikainen said. The Hawkeyes staff has hinted they would like to come down and see him.
  • Last year, Ron Jirsa from the Gophers became the first college assistant to watch Illikainen, and he’s had two more schools in town in the last week: Iowa State last week and Creighton on Tuesday.
  • Illikainen on Nebraska’s new practice facility (completed for last season), which he visited this summer: “It’s crazy. They have iPads everywhere, TVs in the toilet. It’s awesome.”
  • On Minnesota: “I’ve been to see Minnesota a lot and I really like it there and it’s close to home and stuff, but I do feel like I could make a home at any school I’ve seen so far and I just like a bunch of things about each school. They’re all in the running right now.”
  • As it’s still quite early for Illikainen. He doesn’t have a real thorough concept of what will eventually be a difference-maker for his choice. “I just want to go somewhere where I’m going to fit in with the program and I’m going to get a nice education,” he said.
 
  • Illikainen is considered the top prospect in the state for 2015
  • He moves well for a big man and shows a knack for finishing around the basket, with both hands. He has gained about 15 pounds in a year.
  • Illikainen averaged 16.2 points a game last year for Grand Rapids. He scored 35 points in two games in last year's state tournament.
 
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