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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URI guard Jeremy Sheppard takes a shot against Fordham's Joel Soriano on Sunday, Jan. 24, 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 145: Roster churn?

Illinois got further along in filling out its 2022 recruiting class Wednesday with a commitment from three-star guard AJ Storr. More work, of course, is still to be done filling out the 2021-22 roster, and the Illini are in the hunt for more frontcourt help even after landing Florida transfer Omar Payne.

The latest target in the portal? Fordham big man Joel Soriano.

Soriano averaged 10.4 points and 9.2 rebounds and shot 54.5 percent from the field in 2020-21 for the Rams. Those were all career highs for the 6-foot-11, 250-pound forward, who spent a year at St. Thomas More Prep (Conn.) after graduating from Archbishop Stepinac (N.Y.) in 2018.

Soriano teamed up with former Illinois guard Alan Griffin to win a state championship at Stepinac in their senior season. The Yonkers, N.Y., native was a three-star recruit following his prep year and chose Fordham over other offers from Stony Brook, Iona, Old Dominion, La Salle, Manhattan and Florida International.

Soriano also has international experience. He played for the Dominican Republic at the FIBA Americas U18 Championship in 2018 in Canada and averaged 8.7 points, 5.3 rebounds and 1.5 assists in six games.

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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