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Good Morning, Illini Nation: Illinois offers 2026 wing Cole Cloer

Jan. 15—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 and college basketball at large:

Illinois offered Orange (N.C.) sophomore Cole Cloer late Friday morning. That night the 6-foot-6, 175-pound wing knocked down five three-pointers and put up 26 points in the Panthers' 63-58 victory against Person (N.C.) to stay unbeaten in Central Conference action.

The Illini offer is Cloer's ninth. The nearly consensus four-star Class of 2026 prospect (he's ranked by everyone but ESPN) has other offers from High Point, Wake Forest, Appalachian State, VCU, Iowa, Mississippi State, N.C. State and Tennessee.

Cloer's big game Friday has become something of the norm since he's gotten healthy. The Orange sophomore suffered an ankle injury right before the start of the season, and he's now averaging 21.4 points, 8.4 rebounds and 2.6 assists as a 48/32/87 shooter for the Panthers. Cloer averaged 20.1 points, 7.5 rebounds and 3.1 assists as a freshman to go with a 47/39/77 shooting slash.

Cloer played for Team CP3 on Nike's E15 circuit last spring and summer. He put up 13.7 points and 3.6 rebounds during the regular season, while shooting 55 percent overall and 41 percent from three-point range. His Peach Jam numbers were 12 points and 3.4 rebounds per game to go with 43 percent overall shooting and 29 percent three-point shooting.