Projected Illinois basketball lineup with the addition of Kasparas Jakucionis

It was a great Tuesday morning, as the Illinois basketball team has landed a big-time guard for 2024
Illinois v Iowa State
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No. 5 Center

Starter: Morez Johnson Jr.

There are multiple things I continue to repeat in the articles I write. Until the season starts, I will believe that Morez Johnson Jr. is going to have a starting spot. When Brad Underwood brings in a top-50 recruit, that player has always started. Johnson shouldn’t be any different.

Johnson is coming off a senior season where he averaged 17.2 points, 14.1 rebounds, 3.5 assists, 3.4 blocks, and 2.5 steals per game. He is also on the U18 Team USA, alongside future Illini guard Jeremiah Fears. Johnson is a special player who can bang around in the paint. He is great at rebounding the basketball, and I think he is going to pick up the college game quickly. I see Johnson starting at the No. 5 spot for the Illini.

Backup: Tomislav Ivisic

Illinois needed a lot of depth help at the No. 5 spot, and Underwood filled that void with Tomislav Ivisic. He is a 7-foot-1 big man from Croatia. This past season, he averaged 7.1 points, 3.8 rebounds, and 1.3 assists per game.

The Illini landing Ivisic was huge for multiple reasons. The first reason is that he is a capable big man who can help with rebounding and spelling minutes for Johnson. The second is that he allows for the development of Jason Jakstys. I didn’t want to have to throw Jakstys to the wolves, and now he can sit and develop. I have Ivisic coming in as the primary backup at the No. 5 spot.

Backup: Jason Jakstys

The final player on the roster is Jason Jakstys. He is a nice big man, but he needs more time to develop his game and body. I see him coming into the program and taking a redshirt. This will enable Jakstys to save a year and get better as a basketball player. He is going to be important to this program down the road.

Next. Top 5 Illinois basketball recruiting targets for the class of 2025. Top 5 Illinois basketball recruiting targets for the class of 2025. dark