Mayan Kiir needs to be a household name for Illinois fans


Photo submitted by Mayan Kiir.

No. 94 in the nation Mayan Kiir goes in for a dunk.

By Matt Gertsmeier, Staff writer



Mayan Kiir might not yet be a household name, but Illini fans should be acquainted soon enough.

The three-star recruit from Bradenton, Florida, is ranked No. 148 overall, and he is the No. 34 power forward in the nation according to In ESPN’s recently-updated class of 2017, he is listed as a four-star recruit and ranked as the 95th-best player in the nation.

He’s a capable scorer and shot blocker with a significant post presence on the offensive and defensive end. But the best quality of his game might be something no statistic can keep track of — his work ethic.

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    Even with his achievements, offer letters and recent addition to the ESPN Top-100 basketball recruit list, Kiir isn’t satisfied.

    “I’m still going to try to work my way up to the top right now, but as for now, it’s a good start,” Kiir said. “I believe I should be a little bit higher in the rankings. I don’t believe I’m a 95, so I’m still going to try to work my way up to the top.”

    The 6-foot-9, 220-pound prospect said he has not scheduled any visits with Illinois or any other schools.

    Kiir possesses intangibles that every player should strive to have. His dissatisfaction with his low national ranking shows he is willing to go the extra mile to improve himself and his team.

    Kiir would be the fifth addition to Illinois’ class of 2017. The class is currently ranked No. 3 on Kiir is well aware of how powerful that class already is.

    “I like that class,” Kiir said. “It’s a solid team right now. It’s a really good team for the class of 2017. I think it can be a dominant team that will come together.”

    His size is also much needed in a class that already consists of three guards after the Illini lost 6-foot-11 centers Maverick Morgan and Mike Thorne Jr. due to graduation. Kiir’s presence in the front-court is going to be needed and he’ll most likely see the court even as a freshman.

    He has solid footwork and shooting touch in the post, can effectively shoot from mid-range and finish ferociously at the rim. Kiir does a good job of reading shots and attacking the offensive and defensive glass.

    With the Illini finishing in last place in the Big Ten in offensive rebounding, 11th in defensive rebounding and last in blocked shots last season, his strong rebounding and solid defensive ability should come in handy for the Illini.

    “I think I would bring a lot of energy to the table and a lot of rebounds,” Kiir said. “I would bring scoring from the post. I could be real dominant in the post, and I can play in-and-out so it would be a little bit hard to guard. With the guys that I’m playing with, it would just be a real dominant team.”

    Kiir said Virginia Commonwealth University, North Carolina State and University of Nevada Las Vegas are recruiting him. According to, Long Beach State and Southern Methodist University might also be interested in pursuing Kiir.

    He says he is nowhere near making a decision, but did have a parting message to relay to Illinois fans.

    “You can tell the Illinois fans that I love (them),” Kiir said. “Y’all show a lot of love.”

    Matt is a junior in Business.

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