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).


Brad Underwood answers a question during ‘Monday Night SportsTalk,’ at the Esquire in Champaign.

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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 170: Off and running

It's been a busy week for the Illinois men's basketball team. Official practices for the 2021-22 are underway, and Big Ten media days meant a trip to Indianapolis on Thursday for Brad Underwood, Kofi Cockburn and Andre Curbelo. Not to mention an open practice today at State Farm Center. Doors open at 8 a.m. (west entrance) and practice starts at 8:30 a.m.

Amidst all that, more unofficial visitors on campus. Like last week's Meanstreets contingent, it has been (and will be again today) in-state prospects making the trip to Champaign. Peoria Notre Dame forward Cooper Koch visited Friday.

The Kenwood/Mac Irvin Fire trio of JJ Taylor, Darrin Ames and Davius Loury are scheduled to be on campus today. St. Joseph-Ogden guard Ty Pence and Quincy guard Camden Brown — both MidPro Academy players as well — are also reportedly making the trip. 

There's clearly an emphasis on recruiting the state's best players. That they live relatively close means unofficial visits are easier. Here's the full list of uncommitted 2022-25 prospects either from the state or playing in the state with an Illini offer:

Class of 2022

AJ Casey, PF, Whitney Young

Trey Pettigrew, SG, Kenwood

Ty Rodgers, SF, Thornton

Kyle Thomas, C, Benet Academy

Class of 2023

Darrin Ames, PG, Kenwood

Kylan Boswell, PG, Compass Prep (Ariz.)

Matas Buzelis, SF, Brewster Academy (N.H.)

Dalen Davis, PG, Whitney Young

Jeremy Fears Jr., PG, La Lumiere (Ind.)

Owen Freeman, C, Bradley-Bourbonnais

Davius Loury, PF, Kenwood

Ty Pence, SG/SF, St. Joseph-Ogden

JJ Taylor, SF, Kenwood

Asa Thomas, SG, Lake Forest

Donaven Younger, PF, Bolingbrook

Class of 2024

James Brown, PF, St. Rita

Nojus Indrusaitis, SG, Lemont

Morez Johnson Jr., PF, St. Rita

Cooper Koch, SF, Peoria Notre Dame

Jaedin Reyna, PG, St. Rita

Chris Riddle, SG, Compass Prep (Ariz.)

Class of 2025

Melvin Bell, PG, St. Rita

Jeremiah Fears, PG, Joliet West

Bryce Heard, SG, Kenwood

Antonio Munoz, SG, Whitney Young

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

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