College/Prep Sports Reporter

Scott Richey is a reporter covering college basketball at The News-Gazette. His email is srichey@news-gazette.com, and you can follow him on Twitter (@srrichey).

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The Orange Krush in a NCAA basketball game at the State Farm Center in Champaign on Tuesday, Nov. 9, 2021.

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Welcome to “Good Morning, Illini Nation,” your daily dose of college basketball news from Illini beat writer and AP Top 25 voter Scott Richey. He’ll offer up insights every morning on Brad Underwood’s team:

Episode 199: Offseason slow down?

Illinois has yet to land a commitment in the Class of 2023. For comparison's sake, Duke has the No. 1 class in the country with four five-star prospects already committed, and Ohio State, Purdue and Indiana have two four-star recruits on board apiece. Here's a look at the Illini's full 2023 recruiting board:

Professional

  • Matt Bewley; 6-9, 205, PF; West Oaks Academy (Fla.) — Overtime Elite
  • Ryan Bewley; 6-9, 205, PF; West Oaks Academy (Fla.) — Overtime Elite

Of note: The Bewley twins jumped to Overtime Elite for its inaugural season in 2021-22 and were the first high school juniors to do so. They will be eligible for the 2024 NBA draft.


Committed

  • Kylan Boswell; 6-1, 180, PG: Compass Prep (Ariz.) — Arizona
  • Mookie Cook; 6-7, 200, SF; Compass Prep (Ariz.) — Oregon
  • Jeremy Fears Jr.,; 6-0, 180, PG; La Lumiere (Ind.) — Michigan State
  • Caleb Foster; 6-5, 190, PG; Oak Hill Academy (Va.) — Duke
  • Owen Freeman; 6-10, 220, PF; Bradley-Bourbonnais — Iowa
  • Dusty Stromer; 6-6, 180, SG; Sherman Oaks Notre Dame (Calif.) — Gonzaga
  • Simeon Wilcher; 6-4, 185, CG; Roselle Catholic (N.J.) — North Carolina

Of note: Boswell, who grew up in Champaign-Urbana before moving to California, was one of two players that has committed elsewhere that Illinois strongly pursued. Jeremy Fears Jr. was the other, and the Illini backed off with Boswell the priority. Both ultimately opted against joining the Illini.

Not committed

  • Marvel Allen; 6-4, 190, PG; Calvary Christian Academy (Fla.)
  • Darrin Ames; 6-1, 160, PG; Kenwood
  • Chuck Bailey III; 6-3, 185, CG; Donda Academy (Calif.)
  • Noah Best; 6-4, 175, SG; Mount St. Michael Academy (N.Y.)
  • Omaha Biliew; 6-8, 200, PF; Link Academy (Mo.)
Xavier Booker; 6-10, 205, C; Cathedral (Ind.)
  • Joey Brown; 6-5, 170, PG; North Central (Ind.)
  • Matas Buzelis; 6-9, 175, SF; Brewster Academy (N.H.)
  • Cameron Christie; 6-5, 160, SG; Rolling Meadows
  • Kaden Cooper; 6-5, 180, SF; The Skill Factory (Ga.)
  • Dalen Davis; 5-11, 165, PG; Whitney Young
  • Kendrick De Luna; 6-9, 205, C; TMI Episcopal (Texas)
  • Assane Diop; 6-10, 190, C; Denver Prep Academy (Colo.)
  • Comeh Emuobor; 6-5, 190, SF; Ravenscroft School (N.C.)
J.P. Estrella; 6-11, 210, C; Brewster Academy (N.H.)
  • K.J. Evans; 6-9, 200, PF; Montverde Academy (Fla.)
  • Baye Fall; 6-10, 205, C; Denver Prep Academy (Colo.)
  • Rodney Gallagher; 5-10, 160, PG; Lauren Highlands (Pa.)
  • Brandon Gardner; 6-7, 210, PF; Word Of God Christian Academy (N.C.)
  • Jazz Gardner; 6-10, 200, C; Los Altos (Calif.)
  • Jelani Hamilton; 6-6, 180, SG; Cumberland Christian Academy (Ga.)
  • Amani Hansberry; 6-7, 215, PG; Mount St. Joseph (Md.)
  • Jalen Hooks; 6-6, 180, SF; Donda Academy (Calif.)
  • Jeremiah Johnson; 6-3, 170, PG; Norman North (Okla.)
  • RJ Jones; 6-3, 175, CG; John Paul II (Texas)
  • Jahnathan Lamothe; 6-4, 180, SG; St. Frances Academy (Md.)
  • Carter Lang; 6-9, 220, F; St. Anne’s-Belfield School (Va.)
  • Davius Loury; 6-7, 205, PF; Kenwood
  • Cyr Malonga; 6-11, 205, C; Evangel Christian School (Ky.)
  • Tiki Musaka; 6-10, 200, C; NC Good Better Best Academy (N.C.)
  • Kachi Nzeh; 6-8, 210, C; George School (Pa.)
  • Dennis Parker II; 6-6, 175, SF; John Marshall (Va.)
  • Ty Pence; 6-6, 180, SF; St. Joseph-Ogden
  • Devin Royal; 6-6, 210, SF; Pinckerington Central (Ohio)
  • JJ Taylor; 6-8, 185, SF; Donda Academy (Calif.)
  • Asa Thomas; 6-7, 185, SF; Lake Forest
  • Khoi Thurmon; 6-1, 180, PG; Buchtel (Ohio)
  • Akil Watson; 6-8, 205, PF; Roselle Catholic (N.J.)
  • Brandon Williams; 6-7, 205, PF: Christ the King (N.Y.)
  • Gus Yalden; 6-8, 240, C; Asheville School (N.C.)
  • Wesley Yates; 6-4, 200, SG; Beaumont United (Texas)
  • Donaven Younger; 6-8, 195, PF; Bolingbrook

Of note: Illinois has had several of its 2023 targets on campus for visits, including the area standout in Pence what was the Kenwood trio of Taylor, Ames and Loury ahead of the 2021-22 season and both Watson and Booker during this past season. More recent offers include guys like Christie, Cooper, Estrella, Hamilton and Parker. Booker, given his visit, and Gardner are arguably the current priority big men in the class.

Scott Richey covers college basketball for The News-Gazette. His email is srichey@news-gazette.com, and you can follow him on Twitter (@srrichey).

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