Projected Illinois basketball lineup with five-star Jeremiah Fears

Dec 1, 2023; Scottsdale, AZ, USA; Arizona Compass Prep  guard Jeremiah Fears (2) drives to the
Dec 1, 2023; Scottsdale, AZ, USA; Arizona Compass Prep guard Jeremiah Fears (2) drives to the / Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports
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Illinois basketball has landed one of the few five-star recruits in program history.

On Monday, Jeremiah Fears took to social media to announce that he was committing to play for Brad Underwood and the Illini. This commitment is big for the Orange and Blue, as just hours before Fears' announcement, ESPN updated its class of 2025 rankings and made Fears a newly minted five-star recruit.

That five-star status is pretty big for Fears. That puts him in rarified air, and it also means he is well on his way to earning a spot in the prestigious McDonald's All-American Game.

With Illinois having a five-star point guard on board for 2025, it is time to start speculating on what the lineup might look like when the 2025-26 campaign rolls around.

Here is the projected Illinois basketball lineup with five-star Jeremiah Fears

No. 1 Guard

  • Starter: Niccolo Moretti (R-JR)

The 2025-26 season is a long way away, so this is just speculation. But I believe Niccolo Moretti could be the starter for the Illinois basketball team at the No. 1 guard spot. We have seen dabbles of the talented guard this season, but he is young and Illinois has a lot of talent to get on the court.

Moretti entered the picture last season but took a redshirt. He looked good in the summer trip to Spain, and Brad Underwood used him a bit before he got injured three games into the 2023-24 season. I believe Moretti will continue to develop for the rest of this year, and next season will be his big coming-out party. Moretti has a ton of talent balled up in him right now, and by the time 2025-26 rolls around, he is going to be ready to be one of the best point guards in the country.

  • Backup: Dra Gibbs-Lawhorn (R-SO)

I know this might look bad, but in 2025, there will be a lot of talent at guard for the Illinois basketball team. With so much talent, some players are going to have to come off the bench but still be big-time contributors. I see that being Dra Gibbs-Lawhorn.

Just because I have Gibbs-Lawhorn as the primary backup at the No. 1 guard spot doesn’t mean he won’t play a lot. I see him getting 20-25 minutes in each game. Underwood does this currently with someone like Justin Harmon. I see Gibbs-Lawhorn subbing in for the No. 1 through No. 3 guard roles. This kid can do everything on the court, and he will be an asset to this program.