- Scott Powers, ESPN Staff Writer
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Class of 2011 center Ibrahima Djimde has committed to Illinois.
Djimde, a 6-foot-8, 240-pound center, chose the Illini over Old Dominion. Djimde, who is originally from Mali, attended Huntington Prep in West Virginia last season and averaged 10 points and eight rebounds.
"He called Coach [Bruce] Weber and let him know," Huntington Prep coach Rob Fulford said on Sunday morning. "Those kids come here from basically nothing, and you look at what Illinois has to offer. He really had a good time with the players there. D.J. Richardson was his host, and I know he's a good kid. Ibby really liked him and how genuinely nice he was. Comfort level is huge for those guys.
"He liked the fit there. It's obviously a higher level, too. He enjoyed Old Dominion, but it wasn't the same."
Djimde, who is best known as Ibby, should help fill Illinois' immediate need for an interior player. With the graduations of Mike Davis and Mike Tisdale, and Jereme Richmond leaving early for the NBA draft, the Illini lost their three top rebounders. The trio accounted for 18.1 rebounds a game last season.
"There isn't a question whether he's going to contribute," Fulford said. "He works too hard. Some people may think he's an undersized center, but he goes up against a 7-4, 350-pound center in practice every day. Undersized means nothing to him."
Djimde is Illinois' seventh Class of 2011 recruit. He joins point guards Tracy Abrams and Sam Maniscalco, small forwards Mycheal Henry and Devin Langford, power forward Mike Shaw and center Nnanna Egwu in the Illini's recruiting class.
Djimde plans to sign his letter of intent on Monday. Illinois assistant Jerrance Howard was the lead recruiter on him.
Scott Powers covers high school and college sports for ESPNChicago.com and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.