Alex Jesse Joins the Illini
by Marcia Frost, 21 November 2011
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Alex Jesse will be staying in the Midwest and joining the Fighting Illini tennis team next fall. The Blue Chip recruit had a number of options since he has been consistently at top of the national rankings over the last few years. It has all been a result of his solid tournament play in both singles and doubles.
This year Jesse won the 18s Midwest Designated Singles
; placed fourth at a January USTA Regional
in Michigan in singles and fourth in doubles. In 2010, he came in third in the Ohio USTA National Open, and also placed in a half dozen Midwest events. The results he had were consistent throughout his junior career. The skill of the Mequon, Wisconsin, player has been well appreciated by Brad Dancer, Head Men's Coach at the University of Illinois.
"He's a great athlete that can move like a cat and is fundamentally sound in most areas of the court," says Dancer. "We really look at Alex as being the total package. Alex knows he has a ton of work to do in the coming year so that he is physically strong enough to implement his game at the collegiate level, but if he takes on that challenge, we know he will make an immediate impact on our program."
For Jesse, who turned 18 this fall, getting to that level was not just about junior tennis. He continued to also play high school tennis, and it paid off. Jesse won the Wisconsin State High School Championship in 2010 and came close to doing it again this year, losing in the finals to Damon Niquet.
The decision to go to the University of Illinois was not made lightly by Jesse, who was very organized throughout the process. "By the beginning of my junior year, I had developed a list of over a dozen schools that met academic, tennis and other criteria." The teen explained further how the process went for him, "By January of this year, the list was down to about five schools. The five on the list were Vanderbilt, Wisconsin, Northwestern, UCLA, and Illinois."
Jesse put a lot of thought into his final college choice. He says he made a few visits before making the verbal commitment. "I was fortunate enough to go on some unofficial visits. Illinois was one of the schools that I took an unofficial visit to in February of this year. By March, I had made my decision to commit to Illinois. I went on my official visit to Illinois in October, which only added to my enthusiasm."