A little over a year ago, Nimari Burnett helped lead Chicago’s Morgan Park to a state title as a freshman. Shortly after that the University of Illinois became his very first offer. Not many knew then his time in the state of Illinois would be ending, along with his schooling at Morgan Park. Nimari and his family moved to the west coast amd settled in California. Nimari plays for Prolific Prep and catapulted from his freshman year with a stellar season for Prolific. Hr became the floor general and leader as only a sophomore.

His connections with Morgan Park and Ayo Dosunmu can’t be understated as well, Head coach Nick Irvin loves this kid. Nimari is a lethal shooter and was deeply saddened when he abruptly found out Nimari was moving. With Illinois being his first offer and his home state, I wanted to check back in and see how he felt about the Illini and his transition to California hoops.

In his words with Nimari Burnett

Obviously moving halfway across the country is a big step for anyone, especially a 16 year old. I asked Nimari how he’s transitioned in life and on the court.

He told me “Adjustment wise it’s been very well . I’ve been able to fit in well and I’m loving the life here. It’s been fun and basketball wise my knowledge of the game has risen so much and Im really enjoying the time I’m having here learning and getting better.”

Spring and summer are always key times for younger players to get better at a faster pace. I asked him what are some key areas heading into his junior season that he wants to improve.

Nimari told me “My athleticism, understanding of the game and my decision making.

I was curious if Illinois still had a special place after a year away and being so distant.

He said “yes definitely! If I had an option to go back home, that would be the place to go. I plan on taking some trips this summer and that is one I intend on seeing. I did visit last year as well.”

Has Illinois been keeping tabs on Nimari?

He told me “They have been at every one of my AAU sessions, they keep an eye on me. Coach Underwood and Chin call me and stay in contact. I definitely plan on calling Chin soon myself. They are definitely one of my top schools.”

Swami’s Take

There is a long way to go in this recruitment, with that said if Illinois prioritize Nimari they could stay at the top in my opinion. Nimari has offers from Stanford, California and recently St John’s. Not stiff competition yet but after the summer is up with outstanding performances for “Team Why Not” on the Nike EYBL circuit, that scholarship number will grow. Nimari isnt a dynamic athlete but hes very skilled an crafty around the basket with his sturdy 6’3 190 pound frame. He is an Elite shooter and has become a good leader and ball handler.

As many know Illinois really like Adam Miller and DJ Steward in 2020. Nimari would have challenged them for Mr. Basketball in Illinois had he not moved. At the end of the day Illinois has a Buffett of talented guards in 2020, Nimari has been vocal about how he feels towards the Orange and Blue. He may not be in Illinois anymore but keep an eye on Nimari Burnett

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