Illinois Basketball: Top 5 Illini hopes and expectations for the New Year

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We are just days away from the Illinois basketball team flipping the calendar to 2024.

With a New Year comes new hope and expectations. If you haven't noticed, things are going pretty well in Champaign right now. The Illini men are playing some great basketball, and this could end up being a special season.

But hopes and expectations in the New Year are both about the micro and the macro. There are a few hopes and expecatations that I have entering 2024.

Here are my top five Illinois basketball hopes and expectations for the New Year

1. Morez Johnson Jr. makes the McDonald’s All-American Game

With the calendar turning to 2024, one of the first things I have on my mind for the New Year deals with an incoming freshman for the Illinois basketball team.

Morez Johnson Jr. is a superstar big man who is coming in from Thornton Township High School in Illinois. His star continues to rise each and every day, and now Johnson has clearly turned himself into one of the best high school players in the country.

All of the major recruiting outlets have Johnson as a top-40 recruit. has him at No. 31, 247Sports has him at No. 35, ESPN has him at No. 31, and Rivals has him at No. 29 in the class of 2024.

Those numbers are all fine, but there is one prestigious honor I am eyeing for Johnson. I think he can make the McDonald’s All-American Game in 2024. This is the highest exhibition game you can make at the high school level.

The McDonald’s All-American selection process is ongoing and will be completed sometime in mid-to-late January. They take the top 24 boys and girls in the country. Johnson is right there near the top 24. It would be amazing if Johnson could earn this honor. Illinois would also get our first Burger Boy since Jereme Richmond back in 2010.