Illinois Basketball: Illini strengthening relationship with Brandin Podziemski

by Rees Woodcock

Illinois basketball is nowhere near finishing their class of 2021, as they continue to pursue some big-time recruits.

Back on December 15, Illinois extended an offer to Brandin Podziemski. This was a building block offer to hopefully build a strong foundation with the kid. It looks like that foundation building is paying off, as the Illini were able to land a virtual meeting with Podziemski.

According to Jake Weingarten of, Illinois head coach Brad Underwood and his entire staff conducted the meeting with Podziemski on Sunday. This is a big meeting with a recruit who could help the Illini tremendously.

On paper, Podziemski would be a great addition to any program. 247Sports has him listed as a 6-foot-5, 195-pound shooting guard hailing from St. John’s Northwestern Academies. As a four-star recruit, the talented Wisconsin native checks in as the No. 74 player in the class of 2021 and the No. 16 shooting guard in the nation.

We all know that basketball isn’t played on paper.

Podziemski brings a lot more to the table than just a solid national recruiting ranking. This kid is the real deal and then some.

First off, let me start by saying how much I love that Podziemski is a Southpaw. It is hard to find a solid lefty in the game of basketball. Illinois had a few come through the program over the years, and I loved every one of their games.

From a pure basketball standpoint, Podziemski has what Illinois needs moving forward. His three-point stroke should be called Land O’Lakes because it is pure butter. What I love most about his three-point shot is the fact he doesn’t have to be set to put it through the hoop. Podziemski can create his own shot, which is a skill set that not many players have in the college game.

The athletic ability of Podziemski is something that gives him another edge over the competition. When he pulls the ball down from the three-point arc or when he is on a fast break, Podziemski has the athletic ability to make plays. He can either pull up for a mid-range jumper, or he can get to the rim. This same athletic ability enables him to get dirty as well. Podziemski isn’t afraid of contact. He has the game to draw the contact and still finish at the rim.

People are comparing Podziemski to Tyler Herro. While I can kind of see where that comparison comes from, I actually have a better comp. I believe Podziemski is closer to Herro’s Miami Heat teammate, Kendrick Nunn. He is a guy who loves to get to the hoop but also has a deadly three-point shot. The physical prowess is there with both Nunn and Podziemski as well.

Illinois starting to strengthen the relationship between them and Podziemski is huge for the future. Adding him to a class that already features another top 100 player in Luke Goode is going to make the Illini a very scary team in the Big Ten.