Class of 2015 forward Alex Illikainen talks IU offer

080613One of the top rising juniors in Minnesota, Alex Illikainen, is one of the latest prospects to receive a scholarship offer from Indiana.

Illikainen, a 6-foot-9, 210 pound forward from Grand Rapids, put together a strong spring and summer for the Minnesota Cyclones and is now squarely on IU’s recruiting radar for the class of 2015.

“I’d heard from Indiana probably at the beginning of the spring, the first couple of tournaments of AAU,” Illikainen told Inside the Hall. “I talked to Coach (Tim) Buckley. And then after the final July period was done, I started talking to Coach (Tom) Crean and he called me, we had a nice conversation, talked a lot about my game and what Indiana is like, the tradition there. And then he offered me a scholarship.”

The versatile forward has offers from Oregon, Minnesota, Texas Tech, California, Creighton, Nebraska, Northern Iowa, North Dakota State and Wisconsin Green Bay, but the Indiana offer clearly caught his attention.

“It’s a great place to go to school,” he said. “I want to go down and visit and just see what it’s like down there. Great tradition. And then it’s a great school academically. They also play in the Big Ten.”

As a sophomore, Illikainen averaged 27 points, 15.2 rebounds, 3.5 blocks and 2.5 assists per game at Grand Rapids. He has three older sisters and two of them play college hockey.

The primary strength of his game is around the basket, but in college, he hopes to be able to play either forward spot.

“I’ve been working on a lot on my perimeter jump shot and my 3-point shot, dribbling, ball handling, that kind of stuff,” Illikainen said. “My goal is to be able to play both (the three and the four).”

To help him achieve that versatility, Illikainen watches a wide variety of college players to pick up different things to implement into his game. Among them: former IU center Cody Zeller, Creighton’s Doug McDermott and Wisconsin’s Sam Dekker.

“I love how aggressive Zeller is,” he said. “He’s always going after the boards, going strong and never doing anything soft.”

Illikainen, who can begin taking official visits on January 1, 2014, said he could visit Bloomington as early as this fall.

“We’re going to try to find some dates either in the fall or the winter,” Illikainen said. “But I’m definitely going to get down there.

  • N71

    Averaged 27 points and 15 rebounds as a SOPHOMORE?! That’s pretty good…or that part of Minnesota is heavy populated with midgets.

  • Dave Alford

    I’m not Impressed.

  • Dave Alford

    It’s a typical Crean recruit. He’ll ride the bench for 4 years.

  • N71

    I couldn’t get a handle on your comment. What’s typical, Vic, Will, Cody, Yogi, Jordy? Or someone who doesn’t play as much? Alex could be at one extreme or the other, who knows at this point but you’re quick to discount him regardless. Why are you put off by him? 27/15 avg is nothing to sneeze at.

  • semohoosier

    A troll or big time pessimistic

  • Candy Striped Kid

    You’re not impressed because you have seen this young man play? Or because you read one article about him?

  • Dave Alford

    Look at the schools that have offered him. No school worth anything is even looking at him. Except, “It’s Indiana”. We go after kids no one wants, and then build them up so they can let us down in March. Same old Crean. He’s gotta go.

  • thrawnjan

    May I please use this in class as an example of terrible deductive argument forms? Please, please, it’s so good!

  • The_Real_Assembly_Hall

    Go back to the pUKe boards, pUKe troll.

  • The_Real_Assembly_Hall

    Apparently Mr Dave doesn’t believe in player development. By his statements it appears his opinion is they get delivered gift wrapped, and polished to campus.

  • WhatsUpKnight

    i have to admit i occasionally do the same thing on other message boards. Of course, i only troll the boards of those schools that are ‘worth something’, so let’s all thank mr alford for further validation that iu’s back!

  • thrawnjan

    Well, if I was Alex Illikainen, I would be crazy excited to see an article about me on InsideTheHall. Then I would want to see if people are interested in me in the comment section, only to find out that a single troll grabbed all the attention, and nobody actually discussed the article or myself. That would be pretty painful. And unnecessary. Stop trolling.

  • Mike EEE

    Haha… I’ve personally never seen this kid play, but his stats are impressive. The competition? I cannot attest to, but how could you classify a “typical” recruit as someone who rides the bench for 4 years? Doesn’t someone HAVE to play? Unless a coach refuses to put 5 players on the court and forfeit every game, how could the typical recruit literally just sit on the bench his entire career? Brilliant haha

  • The_Real_Assembly_Hall

    Let Coach Crean do his job. Finding talent, is part of it. If Coach Crean believes in this kid then I believe in him. Players have to get discovered at one point or another. Players “blow up” in recruiting at one point or another. We go against the blue bloods in recruiting every day now, but we are also in a position to land a player before he blows up because we were the first big boy school to give him our interest or an offer. I would say the other schools that have offered say “Oh s#!% Indiana has offered him now.”

    On a side note: If Pitino wants to come in Indiana and try to recruit then I guess we will put it to the other Pitino as well in his own backyard.

  • WhatsUpKnight

    lemme see if i can help…
    ALEX, PLEASE READ THE PARAGRAPH DIRECTLY ABOVE THIS ONE FIRST! ;)

    hopefully he’ll see that

  • The_Real_Assembly_Hall

    Good point!

  • The_Real_Assembly_Hall

    See my main post above or below depending on your settings.

  • Caleb Moore

    hahaha yeah…two years after posting a 12 win season we were #1 in the country a lot of the year. He’s a really terrible coach. hahahahah You are right. Nobody wanted Vonleh, #7 in the country. Nobody wanted Zeller, Yogi, Troy, Stan, Wat, and on and on…….all top 50 guys that nobody wanted.
    Speaking of building up kids……OLADIPO! Is that the kind of build up you are referring to? Troll away man. I love it.

  • N71

    I think troll. 3 negative post in an hour. The first post was a little stealthy, the next two just sloppy.

  • semohoosier

    I hope if this young man reads these comments he understands we like what we see that is why we call out negative comments like these.But now they have been deleted .We would love to have your talent plus we have the best development program in the country if your willing to put in the work-Vic-Cody .

  • ufo3

    I like what I have read about Alex. IU would be a great fit for his versatile skillset. If he plays like Sam Decker then we could use him at IU. Keep working hard and improving and IU has one of the best development programs in the country. Coach Crean and his staff just keep finding the talent that fits at IU. I trust their judgement of talent. Keep an eye on this kid. Look foeward to seeing Alex visit IU and attend a home game in Assembly Hall.

  • thrawnjan

    Ha, that was very simple yet clever, I like it.

  • marcusgresham

    Ref—”Coach, you only have four. You need one more.”
    Norman Dale—”MY team is on the floor!”

  • SCHoosier

    Well the competition comes right to the b-ball court from the ice fishing hole so they are never really warmed up!?? Alex must stay in the gym during the winter:)

  • IUMIKE1

    F’n A Babeee ! !

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