When Rashon Burno took over the Northern Illinois basketball program last spring, he intended to have a presence in the Chicago area.
One way or another, whether it was a bounce-back transfer, junior college prospect coming home or a local high school talent, the Huskies roster was bound to have not only a local feel but a recognizable one with name recognition.
The first big-named local recruit he landed was Bloom’s Keshawn Williams, who announced he was transferring from Tulsa to NIU last March.
Now Burno has landed a high-profile local prospect out of high school as Young’s Xavier Amos committed to NIU on Monday. Amos is among the City/Suburban Hoops Report’s top 10 prospects in the state in the Class of 2022.
“I am excited to be part of something new and fresh, to be part of building something special at NIU,” said Amos of joining first-year coach Burno’s Class of 2022 recruiting class. “This is a great opportunity to get me to the point where I want to be in my career.”
Amos said the growing relationship he had with Burno and the rest of the coaching staff at NIU, including assistant coach Steve Christiansen who was front and center in his recruitment, set the right path for him.
“I have spent a lot of time with the coaching staff, coach Burno, coach Christiansen and on the phone with them, sitting down in our in-home visit, and really got to know them well,” said Amos. “We’ve had a great few months getting to know each other. They are great people.”
Amos was recruited heavily by mid-major programs, including those in the Mid-American Conference and Missouri Valley Conference. UNC-Wilmington and Cal-State Fullerton offered the 6-8 forward over the summer.
This is the highest ranked recruit Northern Illinois has landed out of Illinois since Abdel Nader of Niles North in 2011. Amos brings instant NIU basketball name recognition to both the Chicago Public League and the Chicago area basketball scene.
Amos had a breakthrough junior season with the Dolphins, becoming a productive and more consistent force. He was a major factor over the course of Young’s abbreviated season. He then put together an impressive performance at this summer’s Riverside-Brookfield Shootout where he earned several offers, including one from Loyola.
“A lot of it was just confidence,” Amos said of his growth as a player over the past nine months. “I felt like I was getting better every game this summer at Riverside-Brookfield and Ridgewood [shootouts]. Then is continued while playing with Team Rose over the summer. It all carried over from this past season.”
A player with terrific basketball size, mobility and the versatility to play multiple front court positions, Amos can score the basketball in multiple ways. He has range that extends to the three-point line and is capable of both putting it on the floor and scoring around the basket. Most importantly, he’s blessed with considerable upside and has a bundle of talent to work with as he continues to develop as a player.