Illini hot after Kyle Cain?

By Joe Henricksen

Recruiting never stops. The majority of the letter-of-intents are signed and dry by November. However, in the spring it can get a little wild as college programs are scurrying around trying to fill holes and get a late steal.

Another recruiting frenzy is beginning to stir as former T.F. North star Kyle Cain is back on the board after gaining his National Letter of Intent release from Rhode Island and would be a 2010 recruit. Cain, a 6-7 power forward with a knack for rebounding and finishing around the basket, spent this past season polishing his skills and adding weight and strength at New Hampton Prep School in New Hampshire. Now he’s being courted by a host of schools, including Gonzaga, Alabama and West Virginia. If you believe internet reports, Kentucky has inquired, so says CBSsportsline. Oregon, DePaul, UNC Charlotte, Houston, Xavier and many others have checked in.

Now the University of Illinois is getting heavily involved with Cain, who may be just what the doctor ordered for a program looking for a presence and some toughness and rebounding. As talented as Illinois is heading into next season –with a blend of experience, incoming talent and skill –a strong, tough rebounder would fill a void for coach Bruce Weber. Assistant coach Jerrance Howard has gone to work on Cain in a short period of time.

Cain had a solid senior year at T.F. North, but it was after the season –playing with the Illinois Warriors in AAU ball during the spring and early summer –where Cain showed how much he had grown as a player. Cain was recognized as the Hoops Report’s sleeper in the class, moving up into the top 20 in the final player rankings and settling in at No. 16.

The City/Suburban Hoops Report was enamored with Cain’s progress and wrote about it approximately a year ago in an April 26, 2009 blog. Here is that blog entry …

Attention college coaches, be sure to keep tabs on Class of 2009 star, T.F. North’s Kyle Cain, over the next year or two. This is not the same player you — or the Hoops Report — may have watched last summer or even this past winter while playing with his high school team. While he was good all season for T.F. North, he’s been great since.

While the youngsters stole the show on Saturday in Merrillville, it was the play of Cain that continues to impress the Hoops Report. The 6-7 Cain has been an absolute monster each and every time he’s played this spring.

Cain, who had committed to Detroit last fall, will now be heading to either a junior college or prep school. He has been so impressive since the completion of his senior year that the Hoops Report believes there is no question he will be a coveted recruit next year and be an impact mid-major plus college player. And at this rate who knows, he could end up even higher.

He is athletic with an impressive body and improving skills. Cain’s aggression and explosiveness is better than ever. He has the power and strength to mix it up inside and clear space, while also having the willingness to run the floor effectively. He uses his length and athletic ability to block and alter shots. He rebounds and competes. He finishes with authority around the basket and is dunking everything.

If he does land at a prep school and has four years of eligibility as a 2010 recruit …. wow. With an extra year to mature and further develop his game, could he turn into another Joey Dorsey-type player? Dorsey was a raw, physical specimen who went to Laurinburg Prep before landing at Memphis and helping the Tigers to the Final Four.

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