Welcome to “Good Morning, Illini Nation,” your daily dose of college basketball news from Illini beat writer and AP Top 25 vote Scott Richey. He’ll offer up insights every morning on Brad Underwood’s team:
Illinois’ four Class of 2022 signees didn’t wind up on the MaxPreps All-American list after the 2021-22 season although nearly a dozen recruits Brad Underwood and Co. offered and pursued at one point did. The Illini did have some potential prospects on the junior, sophomore and freshmen lists. The rundown…
Omaha Biliew, Link Academy (Mo.)
The 6-foot-8 forward put up 8.6 points, 6.7 rebounds and 1.2 blocks per game on a loaded, balanced team. The Lions went 32-4 and reached the GEICO Nationals championship game where they lost to Montverde Academy (Fla.) earlier this month.
JJ Taylor, Donda Academy (Calif.)
The Chicago native left a stacked Kenwood team last fall to join up with the even more stacked new program on the west coast founded by Kanye West. The 6-8 wing ultimately averaged 18 points and 6.6 rebounds in 2021-22.
Wesley Yates III, Beaumont United (Texas)
Yates played an integral role in the Timberwolves’ 36-3 season that ended with a UIL Class 5A state championship. The 6-4 guard set new career highs in scoring (19.7 ppg) and rebounding (4.0 rpg) while also averaging 2.8 steals and 2.0 assists.
Bryson Tucker, Mount St. Joseph, Md.
Tucker helped the Gaels (32-7) win their first Baltimore Catholic League title since 2017. The 6-6 wing earned BCL First Team honors for the first time and averaged 22 points, six rebounds and four assists.
Liam McNeeley, John Paul II (Texas)
McNeeley was also a state champion this season in Texas. The 6-7 forward put up 16.8 points and 9.1 rebounds per game and helped lead the Cardinals (31-7) to a TAPPS Class 6A title.
Jamari Phillips, Modesto Christian (Calif.)
Phillips picked up his Illinois offer in late January and then went on to lead the Crusaders (30-6) to the CIF Open Division state championship game where they lost to powerhouse Centennial. The 6-3 guard averaged 22.9 points for his sophomore season.
Johnuel “Boogie” Fland, Archbishop Stepinac (NY)
Fland, who plays for the same program that produced former Illinois guard Alan Griffin, averaged 14.4 points, five rebounds and 2.7 assists and helped lead the Crusaders (26-4) to the CHSAA Class AA championship game.
Jahki Howard, Donda Academy (Calif.)
Howard left powerhouse Norcross (Ga.) to transfer to Donda Academy and ultimately gave up a state championship back home in the process. The 6-6 wing put up 14 points per game for the first-year program in Simi Valley, Calif.
Koa Peat, Perry, Ariz.
One of the newest Illini offers, Peat’s high school debut included a Class 6A state championship for the Pumas (25-5). The 6-8 forward averaged 15.6 points and 6.3 rebounds for the season.
Trey McKenney, St. Mary’s Prep (Mich.)
McKenney was one of the first Class of 2025 Illinois prospects offered, and he put up 16.5 points and 6.3 rebounds as a full-time starter for the Eaglets (20-5).