Illinois basketball has loaded up for the 2023-24 campaign, but we might not be done adding talent.
This past week was great for the Illini. While we didn’t add any new names to the mix, we were able to get confirmation that both Terrence Shannon Jr. and Coleman Hawkins would be back in Champaign for one more season.
These two returning to the lineup instantly make Illinois one of the top teams in the country. In addition to Shannon and Hawkins coming back, Illinois was able to add multiple transfers and some big freshmen to the mix. This is a roster with a ton of talent ready to achieve heights we haven’t seen in a couple of decades.
While Brad Underwood and his coaching staff have done a great job building the roster, I believe they are not done with adding players. Over the last 24 hours, Illinois has officially entered the mix for another four-star recruit from the class of 2023.
Flipping Chris Johnson from Kansas would be a big achievement for the Illinois basketball program
On Saturday, Adam Zagoria of Zagsblog.com reported that Kansas signee Chris Johnson had asked for a release from his National Letter of Intent. This release makes him available again, and Zagoria is also reporting that Texas, Ole Miss, Memphis, Alabama, and Illinois are in the mix for his commitment.
There was no word why Johnson wanted to be released from his NLI, but there is now a talented player available for 2023 once again.
Johnson is a 6-foot-4, 180-pound combo guard from Montverde Academy and resides in Texas. He is rated as a four-star recruit and ranked as the No. 51 player in the class of 2023. He is also the No. 11 combo guard in the country and the No. 3 player coming out of Texas.
This recruitment definitely piques my interest. Zagoria reports that Alabama, Ole Miss, and Arkansas were the teams that missed out on Johnson the first time around. The fact that Illinois is now in the mix means we have done some great work in a short amount of time.
I just posted the projected Illinois lineup for next season, and the team is packed with talented players. I could see Johnson coming in and getting minutes from day one, though.
If Jeremiah Williams doesn’t get a wavier for this season, I see Sencire Harris maybe shifting over and being a primary backup at the No. 1 spot. This would then open the backup role to the No. 2 starter, Luke Goode. I could see Johnson and Marcus Domask sharing time in 2023-24.
By the time the 2024-25 campaign rolls around, there should be plenty of playing time and maybe even a starting job waiting for Johnson. So much talent is going to depart, so this season would be about development for the future.
I hope Illinois can land Johnson. We should have one scholarship left as of right now, so this would be a great way to end the class of 2023.