Yorkville senior Jason Jakstys commits to Illinois

Jason Jakstys joins Thornton’s Morez Johnson as a pair of complementing big men in coach Brad Underwood’s 2024 recruiting class at Illinois.

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Yorkville’s Jason Jakstys (32) lines up a three against Huntley.

Yorkville’s Jason Jakstys (32) lines up a three against Huntley.

Allen Cunningham/For the Sun-Times

Jason Jakstys is a story of development.

From the extremely raw prospect he was two years ago to the progress he has shown since to the story that has developed surrounding his recruitment, which ended Sunday with a commitment to Illinois, the evolution of Yorkvile’s 6-10 rising senior continues.

Jakstys joins Thornton’s Morez Johnson as a pair of complementing big men in coach Brad Underwood’s 2024 recruiting class.

“When Illinois offered me I was super stoked,” Jakstys told the Sun-Times. “I grew up watching Illinois play. It’s always been a dream of mine to wear orange and blue.”

Also, the Illinois coaching staff made an impression during the recruiting process.

“I built a fantastic relationship with their coaches,” Jakstys said. “They believed in me even when I had bad games.”

While a few high majors were poking around in his recruitment, Illinois was the one that was on him early — Jakstys visited the campus in January — and the first that pulled the trigger after watching him at the Riverside-Brookfield Shootout in June.

Jakstys had offers from Illinois State, Drake, Indiana State and Valparaiso, along with several high-academic, low-major programs, but there is a symbiotic belief between Jakstys and the Illinois coaching staff about where Jakstys and his game is headed.

“Right now I am playing against kids who have 30 or 40 pounds on me and holding my own,” Jakstys said. “Once I get those 30 or 40 pounds, gain more confidence and become a better basketball player — obviously it’s going to take a couple of years — but once that happens I should be able to play pretty well in the Big Ten.”

Jakstys averaged 11 points, eight rebounds and 1.5 blocks as a junior at Yorkville.

He may have made only nine three-pointers as a junior, but as he has become more comfortable with the speed of the game and getting his shot off, he has proven to be a bigger threat shooting the basketball. Overall, Jakstys has the offensive versatility that’s difficult to find in players his size. And while there is a lack of physical strength right now, he alters and blocks shots defensively with his size and wingspan.

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