UI Shows Interest In 2012 Minnesota Guard

Sanjay Lumpkin (Scott Burgess)

In their never-ending search for talent, Fighting Illini basketball coaches have identified a prospect from Minnesota they believe has potential as a combo guard. Sanjay Lumpkin played with the Minnesota Pump N Run team, leading his team deep into a Chicago tournament last weekend. Illinois has visited him in Minnesota over the past month.

Sanjay Lumpkin is a versatile 6'-6" combo guard with the ability to play and guard multiple positions. This is always an asset college coaches seek because he can be used the player in different lineups and roles. Illinois believes Lumpkin can be this type of player.

"They like that I am a versatile guard," Lumpkin explains. "They can put me at the point if they wanted to."

Illinois proved it is serious about Lumpkin, making the trek to Minnesota to see him play.

"Their assistant coach Jay Price came up to our open gym about a month ago. I have talked to him a couple of times. We talked about my timetable, how he sees me as a player there, and what they can see me doing. I am going to try and get down to campus soon."

Illinois is in pursuit of a point guard for 2012, and their search has gone national. Have they talked to him about playing that role?

"I'm not sure. I think they are just recruiting me as a basketball player. They can see me playing the point guard spot if I need to."

Lumpkin discussed what he likes about the Illini program.

"They are in the Big 10, so it is good basketball. Being seen will not be an issue. Also, they go to the NCAA Tournament."

Will he be visiting Champaign any time in the near future?

"I'm not sure yet. I haven't talked to Coach about it yet, but I am going to give him a call soon."

Lumpkin recently received his first high major offer from Northwestern. Other schools to offer include Santa Clara, Holy Cross, Drake, Indiana State, and Princeton. He is starting to gain interest from other BCS conference schools.

"I have talked a lot with Illinois, Washington State, Notre Dame, and Boston College."

He talked about when he would like to make his decision.

"Probably after July, before my senior year of high school. I hope to have a relaxed senior year where I can enjoy it and hopefully have everything taken care of."

What will be the most important factors in his college choice?

"The place that feels like home and where I can become the best player and person I can be."

Lumpkin describes his assets as a player.

"I am a versatile guard that plays the one through three. I shoot the ball well and play hard. I think my strengths are my length and versatility."

He is a plus shooter who can handle the ball and run a team when asked to play the point. He plays with a calmness and understanding of the game. Defensively, he can guard the one through three with his combination of athleticism and length.

This spring, Lumpkin has starred for Minnesota Pump N Run.

"The season has been going great. We have played some great competition, and all of our losses have come to respectable teams. I have been playing really well this spring. I have been playing the one through four. I am being as versatile as I can and playing the game the right way."

He played especially well during the Best Buy Classic in Chicago over Memorial Day weekend. Lumpkin also has high expectations for his high school team next year.

"The high school season was pretty good. We went 23-5 and lost in the sectional championship. We had high expectations and a great team. We were loaded with juniors, so we are going to have a great team next year. We hope to contend for state next year."

Illini coaches will watch Lumpkin closely in July.

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