The University of Illinois basketball program picked up one more player in its 2020 recruiting class Thursday when Chicago area 7-footer Brandon Lieb made a verbal commitment to play for the Illini.
Lieb had been expected to attend prep school for a year after completing his career at Deerfield High School last season, but he received a flood of high major offers within the past week or two and decided to sign with Illinois.
He told Rivals.com that Illinois was "his dream school" although he also had picked up scholarship offers recently from Oklahoma State, Oklahoma, DePaul and others.
"It’s kind of surreal for me," Lieb told the Chicago Tribune in a recent interview. "It’s so weird because you see kids my age getting offers in the season or spring at the latest, not really in early summer. It’s really taken off the last two or three weeks."
Lieb said in that same interview that he planned to be patient and take two to four weeks to consider his options, but after a Zoom meeting with Illinois’ coaches on Wednesday, his mind was made up.
The 205-pound Lieb averaged 13.5 points, 9.3 rebounds and 2.5 blocked shots as a senior last season. He has shown an ability to run the court well and has shooting range to 22 feet, although 247 Sports rates him as only the 466th best recruit in the 2020 crop.
He provides some additional depth around the basket in case Kofi Cockburn, last year’s Big Ten freshman of the year, opts to stay in the NBA draft rather than returning to Illinois. If Cockburn does return to school, there is a good chance Lieb could be redshirted.
He becomes the fourth player in Illinois' recruiting class, joining highly rated guards Adam Miller and Andre Curbelo and power forward Coleman Hawkins.
Lieb has an older brother, Jack, who also received a Division I scholarship a few years ago. He attended Lehigh but suffered a broken foot in his first practice and never appeared in a game during his four-year career, although he was one of the Mountain Hawks’ captains last season.
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