Busting Brackets

Illinois Basketball: Pickup of Will Riley finishes successful offseason roster building

Illinois v Iowa State
Illinois v Iowa State / Maddie Meyer/GettyImages

There have been a few top-tier class of 2025 prospects who decided to reclass to 2024 and play this upcoming season. The latest of those is now Will Riley, who was a 5-star prospect in the 2025 group, hailing from Canada. He’s a 6’8 forward with tremendous scoring potential, coming off a 42-point performance in the Nike EYBL Circuit recently.

Riley’s stock has climbed in the past few months, making him a legit reclass candidate. Several teams emerged in his recruitment, including Alabama, Kentucky, Arizona, and Illinois. All of them, as well as the NBL overseas in Australia, were in the mix ahead of Sunday’s decision.

In the end, Riley made his decision.

Assuming that the reports are true and he moves up a year to the 2024 class, Riley becomes the fourth freshman to join Illinois Basketball this offseason and the fifth overall. He joins international prospects, Kasparas Jakucionis, Jason Jakstys, and Tomislav Ivisic, while four-star forward Morez Johnson Jr. has been committed for a year.

The strength of the Fighting Illini was on the wings last season, led by stars Terrence Shannon Jr. and Marcus Domask. With them gone, the position is wide open for the set of newcomers, including now Riley. Louisville transfer Tre White can play three different positions, while former Evansville forward Ben Humrichous can play both the three and four-spots.

It’s been an interesting offseason strategy by Coach Brad Underwood when it comes to roster building. They were a fairly older team but now only have one true senior on the roster for the 2024-25 campaign, while now set to have at least eight underclassmen with Riley’s arrival. 

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There may be some growing pains with this roster and it could very well come down to how much of a collective impact the freshmen core has. But there’s definitely a high ceiling with this roster and if Riley can be an instant impact contributor, they’ll remain in Big Ten contention.