Good Morning, Illini Nation: Roundup of new recruiting targets

May 24—The transfer portal will likely remain the top option for college basketball programs to build their rosters even with the COVID bonus transfers going away a year from now. In concert with that, though, should be an uptick in high school recruiting moving forward.

Illinois coach Brad Underwood has said as much. That the Illini staff will push a little harder for prospects in the Class of 2025 and beyond. A statement of purpose that's been backed up by some action on the trail in the last week with four new offers:

Howard Williams, Class of 2027

Williams just completed his freshman season at Whitney Young and helped the Dolphins go 18-15 and win a Class 4A regional title. The 6-foot-5, 180-pound wing also has offers from Northern Illinois and South Carolina State. Williams plays for Meanstreets E15 team on the Nike circuit along with three other Illini targets, and he's averaging 17.4 points and 8.9 rebounds while shooting 53 percent overall, 52 percent from three-point range and 78 percent at the free throw line.

Chris Cenac Jr., Class of 2025

Cenac is a consensus four-star recruit, and his recruitment has blown up this spring. Illinois is one 10 programs to get involved with the 6-10, 230-pound forward/center out of Isidore Newman (La.) in the last two months. Cenac holds other offers from Alabama, Kansas, Baylor, Creighton, Texas, Ole Miss, Oklahoma, Rutgers, Louisville, Tennessee, Mississippi State, Auburn, Oklahoma State, LSU and Texas A&M. He averaged 13.9 points and 10.2 rebounds and shot 58 percent from the field for Isidore Newman last season, as the Greenies went 21-10 and won the LHSAA Division III state title.

Josiah Harrington, Class of 2027

Harrington picked up a pair of offers last week, with Northern Illinois also in on the recruitment of the 6-4, 170-pound guard fresh off finishing his freshman season at North Scott (Iowa) just outside the Quad Cities. Harrington averaged 13.3 points and shot 47 percent from three-point range as a freshman. He also plays for Meanstreets on Nike's E15 circuit — in addition to Bolingbrook's Davion Thompson and Warren's Jaxson Davis — and has put up 4.9 points per game in a limited role. Harrington did have his first two double-digit scoring performances this past weekend.

Christopher Washington Jr., Class of 2026

Washington is a consensus four-star, top 40 prospect in the 2026 class with an offer list to reflect that status for the 6-7, 185-pound wing out of The Villages (Fla.). He holds other offers from Michigan, Western Kentucky, West Virginia, Missouri, Ole Miss, Auburn, Texas A&M, Florida State, Stetson and Bethune-Cookman. Washington led The Villages to a 20-12 season and the semifinals of the FHSAA Class 4A state tournament. He averaged a team-high 15.8 points and 7.6 rebounds and shot 50 percent from the field overall, 30 percent from three-point range and 74 percent at the free throw line.