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Illinois Basketball Battling for Five-Star Shooting Guard



Mar 23, 2024; Omaha, NE, USA; Illinois Fighting Illini head coach Brad Underwood gestures after the game against the Duquesne Dukes in the second round of the 2024 NCAA Tournament at CHI Health Center Omaha. Mandatory Credit: Dylan Widger-USA TODAY Sports

Illinois Basketball Battling for Five-Star Shooting Guard

Per Doug Bucshon of Orange and Blue News, Illinois basketball may be one of four schools to receive an official visit from Meleek Thomas. Thomas is a 6 foot 4 shooting guard who is currently the 9th overall prospect in the class of 2025. Thomas is currently averaging over 20 points per game in the Nike EYBL and is receiving interest from all of the top programs in the country. Per Bucshon, Thomas plans to visit Illinois because of his prior relationship with Orlando Antigua. Antigua started recruiting the talented shooting guard while at Kentucky and it seems that relationship has continued while Antigua returned to Champaign.

This is a familiar feeling for Illinois fans as Orlando Antigua always had Illinois basketball in with the top players in the country. It will be interesting to see how Antigua is able to sell Illinois Basketball’s recent success. The Illini are fresh off a run to the Elite Eight and have consistently battled at the top of the Big Ten.

The Fit?

Illinois basketball already has a very talented guard coming into their class of 2025. Jeremiah Fears continues to impress on the EYBL circuit and is cementing himself as a top guard in the country. Pairing Fears with a veteran Kylan Boswell is already a very enticing prospect. However, Thomas will come in as one of the most talented scorers in the country. Adding Thomas on the wing with talented floor generals like Fears and Boswell will only make Illinois Basketball all the more complete. As it stands right now, Illinois Basketball has a talented frontcourt for the future. Morez Johnson, Carey Booth, and Tomislav Ivišić are extremely talented pieces.

All in all, Brad Underwood seems ready to make his backcourt just as talented.

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