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Johnson, Fears make USJNT roster

May 28—CHAMPAIGN — Illinois basketball will have a pair of representatives at the FIBA U18 AmeriCup next week in Buenos Aires after Morez Johnson Jr. and Jeremiah Fears were named to the U.S. roster on Tuesday.

Johnson is an incoming freshman for the Illini this coming season. Fears is Illinois' lone commitment in the Class of 2025. It's the first time two Illini teamed up for Team USA since De Brown and Deron Williams in 2002 (FIBA Americas U18 Championship) and 2003 (FIBA U19 World Championship).

Both Johnson and Fears will make their international debut when the U.S. starts Group B play on June 3 against Argentina. Belize and Brazil are also in the group. Johnson's Team USA debut came last month at the Nike Hoop Summit.

Johnson is coming off a monster senior season at Thornton where he earned N-G All-State Player of the Year and Illinois Mr. Basketball honors. The 6-foot-9 forward/center averaged 20 points, 15 rebounds, four assists, four blocks and three steals for the 29-win Wildcats.

Fears played his junior season at Compass Prep (Ariz.) after transferring from Joliet West. The 6-3 guard, who is ranked as a five-star recruit and as high as No. 15 in the Class of 2025 by ESPN, averaged 16.8 points and 3.4 rebounds this spring playing for Indy Heat on the Nike EYBL circuit.

Five former Illini represented Team USA at the U18 level in the past two decades. Brown and Williams earned a bronze medal at the FIBA Americas U18 Championship in 2002, while Jereme Richmond (2010), Ayo Dosunmu (2018) and Ty Rodgers (2022) all won gold in the same event.

The Team USA U18 national team roster also includes Purdue center Daniel Jacobsen, Duke center Patrick Ngongba II and Alabama forward Derrion Reid as the other two Class of 2024 representatives. Class of 2025 prospects Darius Acuff Jr., Nate Ament, Mikel Brown Jr., Shelton Henderson, Jasper Johnson, Nikolas Khamenia and Trey McKenney round out the roster. Ament, Khamenia and McKenney all have Illinois offers.

Arizona's Tommy Lloyd will lead the U18 team. He will be assisted by Texas Tech's Grant McCasland and Notre Dame's Micah Shrewsberry.