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).

James Brown

St. Rita sophomore forward James Brown holds offers from several high-major programs, including Illinois, Florida, Oklahoma, Iowa and Notre Dame among others.

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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 204: Lights, camera, Illini!

Several Illinois recruiting targets made it through the first roster cut Monday at the FIBA U17 World Cup training camp in Colorado Springs, Colo., ahead of the early July tournament in Spain. While Class of 2024 commit Morez Johnson Jr. was not one of the 18 finalists cut own from 34 initial players, multiple Illini targets remain ahead of the final cut to get to 12:

Class of 2023

Wesley Yates III, 6-4, G, Beaumont United (Texas)

— Yates did a bit of everything for the Timberwolves (36-3) in 2021-22. The two-way combo guard averaged 19.7 points, four rebounds, 2.8 steals and two assists.

Class of 2024

James Brown, 6-9, C, St. Rita

— Brown was part of a dominant frontcourt for the Mustangs (23-12) in 2021-22 playing alongside Johnson and averaged 13.5 points, 10 rebounds and two blocks. Brown has continued to shine this spring and summer playing with Johnson, new St. Rita teammate Nojus Indrusaitis and Curie point guard Carlos Harris III for the Meanstreets 16U team.

David Castillo, 6-1, G, Bartlesville (Okla.)

Boogie Fland, 6-3, G, Archbishop Stepinac (N.Y.)

Karter Knox, 6-5, G, Tampa Catholic (Fla.)

Asa Newell, 6-9, F, Montverde Academy (Fla.)

Class of 2025

Koa Peat, 6-7, F, Perry (Ariz.)

— Peat has Champaign connections as the son of former Central standout Todd Peat. The younger Peat is already one of the top players in the Class of 2025 and earned Maxpreps Freshman All-American honors in 2021-22 for the Pumas (25-5) averaging 15.6 points and 6.3 rebounds for the Class 6A state champs.

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

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