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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No. 3 Guard

  • Starter: Sencire Harris (R-JR)

As of right now, Illinois is a little short when it comes to bodies to take up roster spots. I believe with the Fears commitment, the Illini have nine scholarship players for the 2025-26 season. For now, I have Sencire Harris as the starter at the No. 3 guard spot with no one as his backup.

Harris surprisingly took a redshirt this season, but when you look back at the decision, it was brilliant for his career. He gets to save a year and wouldn’t have likely played too much with all of the talent on the roster. Harris is great defensively and was developing his offensive game last season. I fully expect him to be starting at the No. 3 guard spot when the 2025-26 campaign rolls around.

  • Backup: Scholarship

I mentioned this above, but I don’t have a backup for Harris right now. There are plenty of possibilities for bodies on the roster, though. Illinois is always active in the transfer portal, so look for a few players to be added to the roster in the coming years. I also believe Illinois could have a huge class of 2025 coming in. Fears is already committed, and there are plenty of options available to follow him.

Some of the names to keep an eye on moving forward include Shon Abaev out of Florida. He is a top-50 recruit for 2025. Chuck Love Jr. is a top-60 recruit in 2025. Aleks Alston out of Kenwood Academy is a top-90 player in the class of 2025. There are big-time recruits for 2025 still left on the board, and Illinois could build a special group of freshmen.