Illinois Basketball: Illini a step closer to adding to the class of 2023

While the class of 2023 hasn’t exactly started hot for the Illinois basketball program, things might start picking up.

The Illini have done a great job securing one of the top classes for 2022. Brad Underwood and his coaching staff secured five commitments and have a national ranking of No. 9 in the country. You couldn’t ask for a better group coming in.

2024 is starting on a similar path as well. Illinois landed Morez Johnson, who is a top 50 recruit, and ZZ Clark has also pledged to the Illini. He is a point guard who will finish ranked inside the top 100 nationally.

But for one reason or another, the 2023 class has yet to get off the ground. That potentially could change, though. On Tuesday night, Brandon Williams decided to cut down his list to just five teams. The five programs making the cut include UCLA, St. John’s, Oklahoma State, UConn, and Illinois.

Williams is a 6-foot-7, 205-pound power forward from Christ The King Regional High School and resides in Middle Village, New York. He is rated as a four-star recruit and ranked as the No. 89 player in the class of 2023. He is also the No. 20 power forward in the nation and the best player coming out of New York.

Illinois basketball has a fight on their hands to land Brandon Williams.

Illini fans should be somewhat familiar with Christ The King Regional High School. I believe this is where we first started recruiting Kofi Cockburn before he transferred over to Oak Hill for his final season of high school basketball.

So, there is already a connection on the east coast for the Illini. But this isn’t going to be an easy recruitment by any means. In fact, 247Sports has UCLA, Oklahoma State, and St. John’s all as “warm” for his interest.

It looks like there is an official visit scheduled for Williams as well. According to 247Sports, Williams has a visit to UCLA on the books for August 2. That would be his first official visit out of the five he is allotted.

I think Illinois obviously has a shot with Williams, though. He kept us in his top five, so there is a chance we can land him. The Illini would be getting someone who can do a lot of great work on the inside.

I love what Williams brings to the table as far as rebounding and being physical around the hoop. I think he could average 8-10 rebounds per game in the first couple of years with the Illinois basketball team. That is how gifted I think he can be in the rebounding department.

As far as offensively, there is probably still more work to do there. But Illinois has a great coaching staff that can develop players on both sides of the court. I wouldn’t worry too much about Williams’ offensive game right now. He has the athletic ability to be a nightmare for opposing teams.

Let’s land Williams and build on his commitment for 2023. This could still be a pretty good class for the Illini.