Illini hosting high-level trio of hoops visitors on Monday – 247Sports

Illini hosting high-level trio of hoops visitors on Monday – 247Sports

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CHAMPAIGN, Ill. — Brad Underwood & Co. are kicking off the month of August with a bang on the visit front.
Montverde Academy rising sophomore Bryce Heard tweeted that he will be visiting Champaign on Monday. The Chicago native and Mac Irvin Fire product is ranked as the No. 20 overall prospect in the 2025 class by ESPN.
Two other big visitors will be on campus on Monday as well. A source told Illini Inquirer that St. Rita teammates Morez Johnson and James Brown will be in Champaign for visits. Johnson, who committed to the Illini last November, is ranked No. 40 overall in the 2024 class by 247Sports. Brown is ranked No. 32 overall.
Johnson, Brown and Nojus Indrusaitis (No. 50 overall in 2024) make up a stellar trio for St. Rita, who will be expected to make their way to Champaign next March for the Final Four of the IHSA playoffs. Mustangs rising sophomore Melvin Bell is also one of the top underclassmen in the state.
With Johnson already on board, the Illini are making an all-out push for Brown to keep that frontcourt duo together at the next level. Illinois had both on campus, along with Indrusaitis, for the regular season finale against Iowa back in March when the Illini clinched a share of the Big Ten title. Underwood and his staff tracked them relentlessly through the evaluation periods this spring and summer as well.
Brown told Illini Inquirer that Underwood and assistant Tim Anderson were two of the first coaches to reach out to him when the contact period began in June.
“They were just telling me that me and Morez playing together in high school and AAU — we can keep that going in college,” Brown said. “Illinois has a great program. They were breaking it down and they’re getting ready for me to come back down there to Champaign.”
Competition will be stiff for Brown, who is ranked as the sixth-best center in the class by 247Sports. He picked up offers from Duke, Indiana, Michigan and North Carolina this summer. That said, it is an encouraging sign to already have him back on campus.
The Illini will also host another high-level player from the MeanStreets program on Tuesday, as 2025 combo guard Trey McKenney will take an unofficial visit. McKenney is a 6-foot-3 combo guard from Michigan and he is currently ranked as the No. 19 overall prospect in the class by ESPN.
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