Coach Brad Underwood continues to strike on the recruiting trail, landing class of 2025 combo guard, Jeremiah Fears.
In the Brad Underwood era, Illinois Basketball has been one of the better Big Ten teams when it comes to recruiting, both via the high school and transfer portal. They currently have a top-5 class in the conference for the 2024 group and are now working on the 2025 class.
The Fighting Illini have been one of several teams after Jeremiah Fears, a consensus four-star guard prospect ranked in the top 50. Originally from Joliet, Illinois, Fears plays his high school ball in Arizona and has been a target for several national teams for a while, including hometown squad Illinois.
They were one of five finalists for the talented playmaker, with Michigan, Ole Miss, Providence, and Kansas among his final options. In the end, Jeremiah decided to join his brother Jeremy (current Michigan State freshman) in the Big Ten, just for a program not in the state of Michigan.
Fears, a 6'3 combo guard, is an ideal fit for an Illinois offensive system that allows for several different scorers to coalesce on the court. We've seen Terrence Shannon Jr. develop into an All-American lead option with the ball in his hands more. Southern Illinois transfer Marcus Domask has had a number of big outings, while all-around playmaker Ty Rodgers has had success, even without being able to shoot.
Outside of Rodgers, the others will be gone after this season, meaning there will be a need for a new core of ball-handlers to keep the Illini going. They have freshman Dravyn Gibbs-Lawhorn on the current roster, along with four-star class of 2024 commit, Jase Richardson. Fears may have the highest potential of this group as a pure scorer and there's a chance that he can reclassify to the 2024 class as well to play next season.
If that happens, the Illini may not have to go portal-heavy again this upcoming offseason.