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).

Denzel Aberdeen
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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 155: Back to normal

The breakdown of five new offers Illinois basketball offers yesterday not enough? You're in luck. The busy June for Brad Underwood and Co. continues. The offers keep coming.

Underwood must have really liked what Dr. Phillips (Fla.) did in winning the 2021 FHSAA Class 7A state title. The Illini offered Class of 2022 three-star center Ernest Udeh Jr. on Sunday and followed up Monday morning with an offer to his teammate Denzel Aberdeen.

Aberdeen is currently unranked by either 247Sports or Rivals. He has other offers from Stetson, Louisiana, Florida Gulf Coast, Florida International, Jacksonville, Wofford, Ole Miss and Georgia State.

Aberdeen, a 6-foot-4, 175-pound combo guard, did play a significant role, however, in the Panthers' state title. Dr. Phillips finished the year 24-3 and topped Dwyer (Fla.) in the championship game. That's where Aberdeen shined, dropping 27 points, three assists and three steals. He earned Orlando Sentinel All-Area First Team honors after averaging 18.7 points, 3.8 assists and 3.6 rebounds.

Another new offer, St. Rita forward Morez Johnson Jr., is also a teammate of a current Illinois target given he mans the Mustangs' frontcourt alongside fellow Class of 2024 big James Brown. Johnson, a 6-7, 212-pound forward, has other offers from Northern Illinois, Siena, Providence, Nebraska and Eastern Michigan.

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

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