By Matt Stevens - IlliniGuys Staff Writer
CHAMPAIGN, Ill. -- Illinois has signed a 6-foot-10 forward who can help their frontcourt depth right away.
The Illini program announced the signing of Zacharie Perrin on Tuesday afternoon via a media release and the Grandfontaine, France, native will be eligible to practice and play in games as soon as possible. Perrin initially was the last prospect to sign as part of Illinois’ 2022 recruiting class after Illini assistant coach Geoff Alexander spent a week in late July and early August watching Perrin play for France in the FIBA U18 European Championships in Izmir, Turkey. Perrin posted a team-high 13.9 points per game and 9.1 rebounds per game while also shooting 56 percent from the field and leading France to a 6-1 record and fifth-place finish in that world tournament.
“Zacharie Perrin was a great find by Geoff (Alexander), he's young but people will be very impressed with his skill level,” Underwood told IlliniGuys.com. “I'm not saying he's one and done but the way he plays is NBA ready. It is a different game over there. Several NBA teams are interested in seeing him and that's saying something.”
Perrin did not arrive on campus over the summer and spent the fall semester at Sunrise Christian Academy in Kansas while Underwood refused to discuss why the 6-foot-10 Frechmen teenager wasn’t part of the initial 2022 recruiting class.
“We're excited to have Zach arrive on campus and begin his academic and athletic career at the University of Illinois," Underwood said. "He has remained loyal to us throughout the recruiting process and is eager to officially be an Illini. Joining a team midseason is certainly a unique situation, but Zach is a driven, committed young man who takes school and basketball seriously. Our coaches and support staff, as well as our players, are here to welcome him and offer support throughout this transition.”
Perrin was named MVP of the Adidas Next Generation qualifying tournament in Patras, Greece in April, averaging 17.7 points and 10.7 rebounds. He was then called up to the Next Generation All-Star Team at the Euroleague Final Four in Belgrade, Serbia, in May, averaging 10 points and 5.8 rebounds.
Perrin played for the Antibes Sharks club in the French Pro B league last season. He was named MVP after posting 21.5 points, 10.9 rebounds, 2.7 assists and 1.5 steals.
Perrin may be expected to immediately contribute on an Illinois frontcourt that currently features junior Coleman Hawkins, graduate transfer Matthew Mayer and redshirt freshman Dain Dainja this season.
“He's not a kid I expect to sit, he's going to help us win some games,” Underwood said to IlliniGuys.com “Guys better be looking for the pass from him, he's an elite prospect.”
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