Charlie Villanueva, a 6-foot-9, 215-pound forward from Blair Academy in Brooklyn, New York is verbally committed to the University of Illinois. Coach Bill Self is one of the biggest reasons Villanueva gave that commitment, but the situation has changed just a little.
On Monday afternoon, Coach Self will officially be named the new head coach at the University of Kansas. The level of excellence at Kansas will remain intact and that’s the reason Self was the #1 target from day one.
It is not yet known if Villanueva will follow Self to Kansas, as the NBA is more than likely his probable destination.
“Right now, the NBA is my first option,” Villanueva said. “I’m going to see who is hired at Illinois and following coach Self to Kansas is something I’m going to consider, too.
Coach Self hasn’t contacted Villanueva as a member of the Kansas staff, but it’s safe to assume he will. Villanueva is ranked as the third best player in the class of 2003 by RivalsHoops.com
“Coach Self has been real honest with me throughout this process and I respect him for that,” he said. “He is one of the biggest reasons I selected Illinois. Coach Self is just a great guy and I’m just going to see what happens.
“Things have been real hectic for me, but it’s all good,” he added. “Like I said, the NBA is my first option, but we’ll see what happens if I decide on attending college.”
I get the impression that the NBA is something Villanueva won’t turn down. If he’s guaranteed to be a top five pick, there is no point in attending college for a year or two.
If he does decided to give college a chance, I think coach Self and Kansas will get a serious look. Villanueva has a lot of respect for coach Self and the rest of his staff, which was evident during our conversation.