College/Prep Sports Reporter

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

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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 until practice tips off.

Official visit season got back underway last month with visits resetting for prospects and basketball programs alike, but things are only now just starting to pick up for Illinois. That includes an official visit scheduled for Sept. 13-15 by three-star forward Coleman Hawkins, who announced his trip Tuesday afternoon.

GMIN Miller

Adam Miller of Mac Irvin Fire 17U.

That could be a busy — and important — weekend for the Illini with Adam Miller also reportedly scheduled to visit. The four-star Morgan Park guard took two official visits last week to Arizona and Arizona State, and the Illinois visit is last one currently scheduled (with two more he could take).

Hawkins wrapped up an official visit at San Diego State on Sunday. The 6-foot-8, 195-pound forward out of Antelope, Calif., and No. 191 overall recruit in the 2020 class per 247Sports has other offers from Arizona, Boise State, DePaul, Marquette, Nevada, New Mexico, Rutgers, Southern California, Wake Forest and Washington State.

Hawkins’ official visit to Illinois will be his second trip to Champaign. He also took an unofficial visit in June 2018 when he got his offer. Hawkins plays at Prolific Prep (Calif.) with one-time Illinois target Nimari Burnett.

Illinois also has an official visit scheduled for Oct. 2-4 with Class of 2020 wing Samson Ruzhentsev. That will be the third visit for the four-star Hamilton Heights Christian Academy (Tenn.) guard with others scheduled for Ole Miss (Sept. 20-22) and Florida (Sept. 27-29).

Ruzhentsev, who is originally from Moscow, put up 17.4 points and 4.6 rebounds per game while shooting 38 percent from three-point range last season for Hamilton Heights. He also represented Russia at the FIBA U18 European Championship in Greece in late July and early August and averaged 12.3 points and 3.2 rebounds in six games for the sixth-place finishers.