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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Robin Scholz/The News-Gazette Illinois assistant coach Orlando Antigua in a NCAA basketball game at State Farm Center in Champaign on Saturday, Dec. 14, 2019.Robin Scholz/The News-Gazette Illinois assistant coach Orlando Antigua in a NCAA basketball game at State Farm Center in Champaign on Saturday, Dec. 14, 2019.

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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 85: Just a blip on the screen

Brad Underwood wants to recruit the world, and the Illinois coach has done that in his first three years in Champaign. That's often times meant tapping into assistant coach Orlando Antigua's connections. Those helped the Illini land the likes of now senior guard Andres Feliz (Dominican Republic) and incoming 2020 signee Andre Curbelo (Puerto Rico).

Illinois is trying to tap into Antigua's Dominican ties in a fairly substantial way in the Class of 2021. A Monday offer to three-star Dominican wing David Jones is just the latest in the class. The Illini have also offered Dominican natives Yerald Mieses and Alexis Reyes, with the latter having played for the Dominican Republic alongside Jones at the 2018 FIBA U17 World Cup in Argentina.

Like Mieses (Hamilton Heights Christian; Chattanooga, Tenn.) and Reyes (Cushing Academy; Roxbury, Mass.), Jones is playing high school basketball in the United States. The 6-foot-6, 195-pound small forward is a junior at Teays Valley Christian School in Scott Depot, W.Va., and he has additional offers from Maryland and Oregon.

Jones has extensive international basketball experience playing for the Dominican Republic in four different events. He first represented his home country in the 2016 Centrobasket U15 Championship where he averaged 11.8 points, 8.6 rebounds and 3.8 assists in a second-place finish.

Jones helped the Dominican Republic win the 2017 Centrobasket U17 Championship, putting up 8.2 points, 7.4 rebounds and 1.4 assists per game. He then played for the Dominican's fifth-place team at the 2017 FIBA U16 Americas Championship and averaged 19 points, 6.2 rebounds and three assists. 

Jones' most recent international experience came at the 2018 FIBA U17 World Cup, where he faced Curbelo and Puerto Rico. The Dominican Republic finished ninth, and Jones was the third-leading scorer in the event averaging 19.7 points to go with 9.9 rebounds and 2.3 assists per game.

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