Illinois Basketball: Early Illini recruiting targets to keep an eye on for the class of 2025

Dec 4, 2012; Champaign, IL, USA; The Big Ten logo displayed on the court before the game between the
Dec 4, 2012; Champaign, IL, USA; The Big Ten logo displayed on the court before the game between the / Bradley Leeb-USA TODAY Sports

I am sure after the 2023-24 season, the Illinois basketball program will look to add a transfer or two to fill in some massive holes left by departing players.

While there is always a focus on bringing in some experienced talent, the Illini have also been doing some great work on the recruiting trail.

Brad Underwood just secured a top-20 class for 2024, which makes four out of the last five years with a top-20 group coming into Champaign. Now that recruiting attention is starting to shift. The coaching staff, while they have been eyeing future targets over the past year or so, will now start to make the class of 2025 a top priority.

Illinois has zero commitments for 2025, but there are plenty of big names available. The Illini are already making some headway with a few of these names as well.

Illinois basketball is already showing heavy interest in some big names for the class of 2025

Underwood and the coaching staff have been offering scholarships to players from the class of 2025 for around a year now, but there are some names that have emerged as serious targets moving forward.

Jeremiah Fears is obviously one of the biggest names Illinois has been targeting for quite some time. The 6-foot-3, 175-pound point guard is the No. 44 player in the class of 2025. While Fears plays out at Compass Prep in Arizona, the star guard is from Joliet, Illinois.

In October, Fears took an official visit to Illinois. He has also visited Tennessee. In an article by Jamie Shaw of, Fears talks about playing style as a big key factor in his final decision. He also goes on to say that he likes how Illinois uses their guards and how they have done a good job with guard development.

Illinois has a lot to compete with, though. Fears’ brother, Jeremey, plays at Michigan State. The Spartans made Fears’ top 10 back in November, which also includes Providence, Oregon, Ole Miss, Michigan, Kansas, Iowa, Arizona, Alabama, and Illinois.

I believe Illinois fans need to keep the name Aleks Alston in mind. The 6-foot-9, 170-pound forward is out of Kenwood Academy up in Chicago. Alston is the No. 95 player in the class of 2025 and has a strong interest in the Illini.

Alston has already been on an unofficial visit to Champaign back in October. Securing Alston will once again be tough, as he has numerous programs vying for his commitment. He ended his unofficial visits with a trip to Michigan State as well. Landing Alston, who is arguably the best player in the state of Illinois for 2025, would be big for the program.

I also want to keep an eye on a few other players who aren’t getting a ton of spotlight yet. Phoenix Gill is a big recruit I want Illinois to land. The son of former Illini great Kendall Gill, Phoenix is a 6-foot-2 guard out of St. Ignatius High School in Chicago. He is the No. 164 player in the class of 2024.

Illinois has also offered a scholarship to Deitrich Richardson out of Peoria Manual. He is the nephew of former Illini guard DJ Richardson. Richardson isn’t ranked just yet by 247Sports.

The last name I want to mention is Shon Abaev. There seems to be some momentum for the Illini in the recruitment of the 6-foot-7 shooting guard out of Calvary Christian Academy in Florida. Abaev is the No. 41 player in the class of 2025, and it looks like he may want to set up a visit to Champaign.

There are a ton of options available for the Illinois basketball team in 2025. More names will emerge as the months pass as well. I believe there is a good chance Underwood lands another top 25 class in 2025.

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