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Future Illinois Basketball Stars Win Gold Medal



Brad Underwood has recruited two future stars who just won a Gold Medal with Team USA prior to their time with Illinois Basketball.
Mar 5, 2024; Champaign, Illinois, USA; Illinois Fighting Illini head coach Brad Underwood reacts during the second half against the Purdue Boilermakers at State Farm Center. Mandatory Credit: Ron Johnson-USA TODAY Sports

Future Illinois Basketball stars, Jeremiah Fears and Morez Johnson Jr, continued the trend of Illini representation on the U18 Team USA. Ayo Dosunmu, Adam Miller, and Ty Rodgers all participated on the team prior to arriving in Champaign. Fears and Johnson Jr gained some valuable experience playing alongside each other and alongside some of the best young talent in the country. Team USA clinched a Gold medal after another dominant win over Argentina.

Johnson Jr was a key big man off the bench, while Fears had to find his spots among talented incoming freshmen such as Darius Acuff Jr and Trey McKenney.

Morez Johnson Jr

Morez averaged 8 points, 9 rebounds, and 1.2 blocks in 13 minutes per game. Johnson Jr showed that he is an elite rebounder with an outstanding motor. The Illinois big man did struggle with fouls and some missed opportunities at the free throw line, which will likely be his biggest hurdle as a true freshman. Despite this, he showed a skillset that Illinois basketball does not have.

Johnson Jr‘s rim-rolling, athleticism, and motor are all traits that will help him find the floor as a freshman for Illinois Basketball.

Credit: @IlliniMbb Twitter Account

Jeremiah Fears

Fears was one of the younger players on the roster. Additionally, the USA roster was filled with talented, high-usage guards. In all, Fears averaged 6.5 points, 2.7 rebounds, 2.8 assists, and 3 steals per game in 12.0 minutes per game. Jeremiah has really developed his game in terms of his playmaking and using his length on the defensive end.

As he continues to fill out his frame, look for Fears to become one of the more dominant guards in the class of 2025.

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