UIC targets rim protector with final scholarship

Photo: UIC Athletics

There has been lots of movement on UIC’s roster since their season ended with a loss to Wright State on March 5. Five players either graduated or transferred, but UIC is bringing in arguably the top recruiting class in the Horizon League to replenish the vacancies. The cupboard is not bare by any means.

And UIC may not be done with the 2016 recruiting class, as Blinn Community College big man Link Kabadyundi will officially visit campus this weekend. Listed at 7-foot-1, Kabadyundi averaged 8.9 points, 11.1 rebounds and 3.8 blocks per game while shooting 58% from the field as a sophomore for Blinn. Kabadyundi, originally from Montreal, Canada, played his freshman year at TCU but transferred after receiving minimal playing time.

Kabadyundi would provide much needed depth among UIC’s big men. Tai Odiase returns as an elite rim protector, but he’ll need a quality backup in case he gets in foul trouble. Kyle Guice, a JUCO newcomer, is another big, but he’s more comfortable as a floor spacing stretch-four. Hassan Thomas returns  after a freshman year where he played sparingly and he’s a bit undersized to man the center position at 6-foot-7. Neither Guice nor Thomas are rim protectors who can realistically back up Odiase. That makes Kabadyundi a prime target to take UIC’s last available scholarship for the 2016-2017 season.

 

Recruiting Notebook

-Since the season ended, UIC has begun to cast a wide net in the class of 2017, specifically targeting big men. Jaylen Butz, Greg Eboigbodon, Ikechukwu Eke, Joseph Thompson, Josip Vrankic and Derrick Walker have all garnered offers this spring. Expect the staff to continue evaluating these players and new names to emerge during the July evaluation periods.

-2017 center Manny Patterson, from Kenwood in Chicago, unofficially visited UIC on Wednesday. Patterson already sports an offer from UIC, and has been on multiple unofficial visits to UIC before. This most recent visit gave Patterson a chance to see the campus, something he hadn’t really done before.

-Isa Maguire, a 2018 center from Lindblom in Chicago, joined Patterson on the unofficial visit Wednesday evening. Maguire has opened some eyes with his size and skill at 6-foot-10.

-In addition to the recent 2017 offers, UIC has offered several players in the 2018 and 2019 classes as well. UIC offered Ayo Dosunmu (point guard) and Talen Horton-Tucker (wing) in 2018, which are the first offers for both players. Both play for elite high schools in Chicago, Morgan Park and Simeon and on the same Mac Irvin Fire 16U team. SMU and Illinois offered Dosunmu shortly after UIC, so he may be a tough get as he continues to garner more exposure. Tim Finke from Champaign, and younger brother of current Illinois big man Michael Finke, is another 2018 prospect with an offer from UIC. But he’s attracted interest from high-majors, including Illinois, so he’ll also be difficult to land. UIC also offered 2019 wing Perry Cowan, which is his first offer. Another Chicago standout, Cowan plays for DePaul Prep and the Illinois Wolves. He’s drawn raves after a productive freshman year and is considered a top-five freshman in Illinois.

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