Illinois' John Groce strikes again with top-100 big Austin Colbert

By Jeff Borzello | College Basketball Writer

John Groce has coached a grant total of one game at Illinois, but he has already made quite an impact on the basketball program.

On Monday afternoon, he picked up a commitment from top-100 big man Austin Colbert.

“I decided to pick Illinois because I just want it to be the best fit for me,” Colbert said on SNY. “I feel like coach John Groce is going to develop me into a person, develop me into a player and push me every day in practice. Not only does basketball have a big value for me, but academics as well.”

Colbert is ranked No. 96 in the class of 2013 at He's a 6-foot-9 power forward from Gill St. Bernard's (N.J.) and chose the Fighting Illini over Villanova and Miami. For a long time, it looked like Miami and Nova held the edge, but Illinois made up a lot of ground on Colbert's official visit.

Colbert has been a highly-touted prospect since before he began his high school career at St. Patrick (N.J.). He has very good length and athleticism, but needs to be consistently aggressive on the court. When he looks to make plays inside, he can be very effective. Colbert has a decent face-up game and is good at running the court for easy baskets. Defensively, he can rebound and block shots.

Illinois now has five commitments in the class of 2013, three of them ranking among the top 100 players in the country. Colbert joins Kendrick Nunn (No. 57), Malcolm Hill (No. 83), Maverick Morgan and Jaylon Tate.

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