Looks Like University Of Illinois - Matic Vesel

Jun 13, 2017

It's times like this when I realize how much I rely on the opinions of others. I like to say that these posts are "an independent evaluation of the athlete's film with a deep dive into team needs and scheme fit", but a review like this is so difficult without any channel markers. Namely, offers from other schools and rankings from recruiting evaluators.

The second one (recruiting rankings) is a flawed system in need of a major overhaul, and don't even get me started on how players are grouped into three categories (three-star, four-star, five-star) when they should be grouped into seven or eight categories, but it is very helpful to read what others think of a player. If for no other reason that these scouts see hundreds of players and can use some level of "he's better than Jones but not as good as Smith" in their evaluations.

The first one, to me, is more reliable. If we land a player who came down to Illinois, Kentucky, and Michigan State, there's a good chance that player is a baller. If we land a player who decommitted from UIC (and we held off William and Mary to land him), you have to assume that player is a longshot. It could work out, but there's maybe a 20% chance they're a contributor (vs. an 80% chance for the other guy).

With our latest verbal, Slovenian tall guy Matic Vesel, there's nothing we can use. There are no rankings; there are no offers. All we know is that a tall European in on his way to Champaign and will enroll for classes in a few months. Is he as good as one of those Euros that Gonzaga keeps finding? Is he an even bigger longshot than Greg Eboigbodin? It's nearly impossible to say.

We do have some film to review, and honestly, it looks pretty good. If Underwood is going to install this "let's score in the first seven seconds of the shot clock before the defense has a chance to get set" offense, then you need a few bigs who can finish on the run, which is something Vesel seems to be able to do quite well. The ability to catch and finish on the run will be much more important in this offense than the ability to back someone down Shelly Clark-style, so I think Vesel will fit in well.

Beyond that, who knows. He shoots all of one jump shot on that video (it went in!). He dunks a few times, but it's not like he's some high-flyer. In a couple spots he brings the ball up the floor on the break, so he has handles that, say, Maverick Morgan doesn't have. If there's a current player comp that works here, it's Michael Finke. (And the best non-current-player comp I saw came from IlliniRanger - Bill Cole. I think that's a great comp. Probably not a Tyler Griffey stretch-four, but maybe more of a Bill Cole four.)

Where does that fit? Well, as we've discussed 235 times, a few weeks ago there were only two frontcourt players on the entire roster (Michael Finke and Leron Black), so we were probably going to be turning to a few walkons when there was foul trouble. Now, we're adding a Euro big (and a project big in Eboigbodin), so there are backup options this coming season. And both Finke and Black are juniors, so we'll need to be getting Vesel and Eboigbodin ready to contribute (and maybe start) for the 2019/20 season.

This leaves us with three scholarships for the 2018 class. My guess would be a combo guard, a wing, and another big. So let's say a 1/2 guy, a 2/3 guy, and a 4. That's a whole lot different than it looked a few weeks ago with five scholarships available and no bigs.

One other thing before we get to Cruises - when he committed yesterday, I laid claim to the nickname "Auto-Matic". I know his name is probably pronounced "muh-TEEK" and not "MATT-ic", but that's never stopped me before. "Smith dishes to Vesel on the break and he finishes with a layup because HE'S AUTO-MATIC" yeah ok that's pretty dumb I hear it now.

(One OTHER other thing - no, he's not the guy in the Batman mask at the top. He's all the way on the right. But cool cover photo, right?)

Cruises. I like this much more than the Eboigbodin commitment. Eboigbodin seems like more of a long-term project; Vesel, with his experience on the Slovenian National Team, seems to have a little more polish. I like the film more, so I'm thinking he contributes sooner rather than later.

Matic Vesel - Two and one-half Tom Cruises.


Douglascountyillinifan on June 13 @ 03:23 PM CDT

I got more of a "Kill Bill, Crazy 88" vibe from the masked man shown above. As for Auto Mateek, which isn't quite as cool as "Spicy G", I really, really trust the evaluation skills of this staff and I believe he'll be a contributor, sooner rather than later. You sounded great on Tay and Jay last night, Robert.

Efrem on June 13 @ 07:46 PM CDT

Am I the only one who was confused by the highlight video? Did they change jersey's with the other team part way though and then change back again?

Part way through I was still watching the guys in black and wondering why they were showing Matic getting scored on on his highlight reel

larue on June 13 @ 10:34 PM CDT

Sadly, I'm pretty sure his name is pronounced either MATT-ich or muh-TEECH.

Groundhogday on June 13 @ 11:09 PM CDT

Rule of thumb: recruit 1-2 bigs every year, and maybe half of them will develop into solid to good players. The ones that don't work out will transfer. Groce never figured that out, hence we were always scrambling for spring transfers.

For that reason, I really like the late pickup of two mobile big men who appear to fit the system and with S&C might develop into good B1G players. And like Robert, I think Vesel looks to be further along having played against better competition. But I suspect we'll play both this year as Vesel is more of a 4, Ebo is more of a 5, and we need the bodies.

Illinimac68 on June 14 @ 03:58 AM CDT

William and Mary wouldn't have offered the guy unless William wanted to redshirt.

bradidas on June 14 @ 09:48 AM CDT

Robert- I'm down with the Auto-Mateek nickname, just roll with the mispronounced Automatic!

Groundhogday on June 15 @ 09:44 AM CDT

Agree: Say it loud and proud Auto-ma-TEEK!

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