Illinois basketball signee Morez Johnson Jr. adds a massive chip to his shoulder

Illinois v Tennessee
Illinois v Tennessee / Eakin Howard/GettyImages

The McDonald’s All-American Game rosters were announced on Tuesday, and the Illinois basketball team was once again left out of the mix.

You have to go back over a decade ago to find the last Illini Burger Boy. Jereme Richmond played in the elite high school exhibition game, and since then, Illinois has been left out in the dark.

I was fully expecting the Illini to have one in 2024, though. Morez Johnson Jr. committed and signed with Illinois. He was around the top 50 when he originally committed to the program, but over the past year or so, Johnson’s stock has skyrocketed.

Johnson is currently the No. 31 player in the country by, No. 27 by 247Sports, No. 31 by ESPN, and No. 29 by Rivals. That puts him right in the mix to become a McDonald’s All-American.

Sadly, we received the news on Tuesday that Johnson didn’t earn this great honor. For one reason or another, they felt like Johnson wasn’t among the top players in the country. Johnson’s Thornton Township High School coach had a few choice words for the decision.

“It’s awful. It’s garbage. Garbage.”

Illinois basketball signee Morez Johnson Jr. is just adding another chip to his shoulder

It is a bit of a disgrace to keep Johnson out of the McDonald’s All-American Game. There are multiple players who consistently rank outside of Johnson in recruiting rankings across the country.

Big man John Bol made it into the game over Johnson. His rankings include On3 (No. 56), 247Sports (No. 37), ESPN (No. 40), and Rivals (No. 56). How he gets in over Johnson is mind-blowing.

There are a few others who got into the McDonald’s All-American Game over Johnson who probably shouldn’t have. When you combine the four recruiting sites together, Trent Perry has an average recruiting ranking of No. 44, Zoom Diallo has an average recruiting ranking of No. 31, and Donnie Freeman has an average ranking of No. 28.

While it is ridiculous that Johnson isn’t in the McDonald’s All-American Game, it does add another chip to his shoulder. Do you want to really doubt this kid?

After the brutal news, Johnson and the Thornton Wildcats had a game. They took on the No. 7 team in the state, the Bloom Blazing Trojan. Bloom is one of the two teams Thornton has lost to this season, falling by 11 points back in December.

On Tuesday night, Thornton exacted revenge on Bloom, taking down the top-10 team in the state, 69-52. This 17-point victory was aided by Johnson having one of his patented Johnson games, going for 21 points and 10 rebounds.

Doubt this kid. Keep doubting this kid. It is only adding more fuel to the fire. Johnson is a great player, and he has proved it at every turn.

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