More help is on the way, but there's still a long wait.

More help is on the way, but there's still a long wait.
 
Rich South sophomore guard Crandall Head, the younger brother of former Illini guard Luther Head, officially gave Illini coach Bruce Weber a verbal commitment after the Illini's 68-64 loss to Penn State on Sunday. He can't play for the Illini until the 2010-2011 season.
 
Transfer Alex Legion practiced with the Illini on Saturday and sat the bench in street clothes during the Illini-Penn State game. The former Kentucky guard and Parade All-America will have 2 1/2 years of eligibility when he can begin play for the Illini upon the completion of the fall semester in December. But these are the kind of players the Illini need if they want to return to contention for the Big Ten Conference title.
 
Legion, who averaged 6.7 points in six games before leaving Kentucky, originally signed with Michigan as an Oak Hill (Va.) Academy senior. Legion averaged 19.6 points, 5.7 rebounds, 2.1 assists and 1.8 steals at Oak Hill. The Inkster, Mich., native visited Illinois in December and gave the Illini an oral commitment Dec. 22.
 
The 6-foot-5 Legion, rated 36th nationally in the prep class of 2007 by the recruiting services consensus index, is the highest rated recruit to join the Illini under coach Bruce Weber.
 
"Alex is a very talented kid,'' Weber said. "We just had him one day in practice. We're very excited to have him here. It's not where you start but where you finish and how you finish. It's a great opportunity for him. We've got nine months to get him adjusted and be ready to help us next season.''
 
With Legion and junior guard Jamar Smith, who is redshirting, "we had a tough scout squad in practice,'' Weber said. Legion is a shooter and perimeter scorer desperately lacking with the Illini, but Illinois is his third stop in his brief college career.
 
Illinois was always considered the destination for Crandall Head, who had 34 points in a shootout loss to Champaign Centennial in Assembly Hall in December.
 
"I'm just planning to do better than he did,'' he said when asked about the inevitable comparisons to his brother, an NBA first-round pick after helping Illinois reach the NCAA title game in 2005. "Sometime last week I just decided that today was the day.''
 
Considered by some analysts as the state's No. 2 sophomore behind Illini commit Jereme Richmond, Crandall Head continued the recruiting haul by Weber among the sophomore and junior classes. The Illini have five commitments from those two classes.
 
"I like the school, the coaches, the players and the players that have already committed,'' Crandall Head said. "I really like playing with them.''
 
Like his brother, he acknowledged, "my best skill is going to the basket,'' he said, "and I need to work on my shooting a little bit.''
 
John Supinie can be reached at Johnsupinie@aol.com. For more coverage, read Illini Talk blog at www.sj-r.com and www.pjstar.com.