Simpson and Sneed wrap up visits, Simpson decision may come soon


By Alex Roux

When Illini basketball targets Xavier Simpson and Xavier Sneed attended Friday night’s Illinois volleyball game, it was hard to tell that synchronous official visits were happening under the direction of basketball coach John Groce.

Simpson took in the first couple of sets with his father and Illinois assistant coaches Dustin Ford and Paris Parham. Sneed was spotted hanging out at Huff Hall with Illini junior forward Malcolm Hill.

The separate but simultaneous approach wasn’t an accident. It was by design. According to Simpson’s father Quincey, the rest of the weekend’s activities played out in similar fashion.

“It was a double visit, but it didn’t feel like a double visit because (Sneed) and his family were doing things separate from me and (my son),” Quincey said. “Which was great. We wouldn’t have had a problem if we did it together, but it was great the way they set it up, you know? We got all the attention we felt we needed.”

Simpson and Sneed are both in the 2016 class, and both would be valuable pickups for Groce. But Simpson would fill a more immediate need at Illinois at the point guard position, while Sneed would join a roster already stacked with wings who share his position.

Quincey said he and his son left Champaign impressed.

“It was exceptional,” Quincey said. “The coaching staff was very cool, very down to earth. The visit was nice, the campus was nice and the players were nice.”

Groce and his staff seem to always receive high praise from recruits and their families, and their charm was turned up again over the weekend. 

“They all just seemed genuine,” Quincey said of the staff. “They all seemed real. They were down to earth, just guys that I felt like we could talk to (about things) outside of basketball, you know? Just guys you can build a relationship with.”

Simpson took his first official visit to Iowa State last month and has a visit to Miami scheduled for Sept. 11, but his dad said future visits aren’t guaranteed. Instead, Simpson might make his college decision before any more schools have a chance to get him on campus.

“We’re going to make a decision pretty quick,” Quincey said. “When we get home (Sunday night) we’re going to talk and see what he’s thinking. We’ve got some other visits set up, but who knows, we may not (take them). Some of them may be cancelled. We’re not sure. But we are going to make a decision pretty soon. We did like Illinois a lot.”

Alex is a senior in AHS.
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