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:
Illinois is a bit late to the game when it comes to the recruitment of Class of 2022 prospect Jaxon Kohler. The 6-foot-9, 250-pound forward got his first offer from Southern Utah back in 2018. But The Illini aren't alone in their more recent pursuit. Michigan State also offered this month, and Iowa, Oklahoma, Kansas, Southern California, Nebraska and Washington were all summer offers.
So what's driven the latest interest in Kohler? Earning MVP honors at the Pangos All-American Festival in late August certainly helped. That he did so by dropping 53 points and 19 rebounds? Yeah, high major programs were going to continue to be real interested.
Kohler is a consensus four-star recruit, although his national ranking in the Class of 2022 is quite varied. He checks in at No. 40 per ESPN, No. 70 per 247Sports and No. 119 per Rivals.
Kohler is originally from American Fork, Utah, and he played the 2020-21 season for his hometown team. Kohler averaged 21.6 points, 8.9 rebounds and 2.5 assists for the Cavemen last season.
Kohler won't be returning to American Fork for his senior season, though. He's transferred to Southern California Academy. Transferring isn't new to Kohler. He played his freshman season at Wasatch Academy (Utah) and then his sophomore year at Coronado (Nev.) playing alongside star guard Jaden Hardy. His move to SCA simply makes for four high schools in four years.