Sep. 12—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:
Illinois will have, for sure, at least four open scholarships heading into the 2024-25 season with Terrence Shannon Jr., Marcus Domask, Quincy Guerrier and Justin Harmon all in their final season of eligibility. And while Coleman Hawkins could return for a fifth year in 2024-25, it wouldn't be crazy to think his scholarship might come open, too.
So how will Illinois coach Brad Underwood use those open scholarships. Two are already spoken for with Class of 2024 big men Morez Johnson Jr. and Jason Jakstys committed. That leaves two, maybe three, and the recruiting focus almost assuredly turns to the backcourt.
Odds are a transfer guard/wing is on the table as a potential addition. Maybe two depending on the number of open scholarships (and a max of five is based on nobody else transferring out, which, you know, has happened). But a Class of 2024 guard is certainly in the mix to fill one of those open spots.
Silsbee (Texas) guard Jared Harris committed to Memphis on Monday. Another four-star guard, Jaiden Glover out of The Patrick School (N.J.), is set to commit Tuesday with a final four of St. John's, Creighton, Seton Hall and Saint Joseph's.
The "frontrunner" probably has to be Prolific Prep (Calif.) four-star guard Mikey Lewis. The Oakland, Calif., native is scheduled to visit Champaign this weekend. No better time to try and lock in his commitment.
Illinois is one of six finalists in Lewis' recruitment along with Kansas, LSU, Ole Miss, San Diego State and Saint Mary's. The 6-foot-3, 170-pound guard was one of the top players on the Nike EYBL circuit this past spring and summer. He averaged 18.1 points, 4.5 rebounds and 2.2 assists during the regular season and put up even better numbers during the Peach Invitational Tournament at 23.7 points, 5.8 rebounds and 2.7 assists per game.
And if it's ultimately not Lewis? There are other guard options on Illinois' 2024 recruiting board. Curie's Carlos Harris III is the in-state prospect. Harvard Westlake (Calif.) standout Trent Perry is one of the newest targets. So there are options, but not as far along in the process with the Illini than Lewis.