Superstar Illinois basketball signee is leading one of the elite high school programs

Brad Underwood has landed some great players on the recruiting trail. One of those great players is currently leading one of the best high school teams in the country.

Dec 4, 2012; Champaign, IL, USA; The Big Ten logo displayed on the court before the game between the
Dec 4, 2012; Champaign, IL, USA; The Big Ten logo displayed on the court before the game between the / Bradley Leeb-USA TODAY Sports
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Illinois basketball is bringing in a recruit in 2024 who currently has his high school team in the top 100 nationally.

The Illini class of 2024 is going to do some special things in Champaign. Brad Underwood has landed a nice mix of players who will help the frontcourt and backcourt in the first couple of years.

Leading the way for the Illinois 2024 class is Morez Johnson Jr. He is a four-star recruit who is ranked as the No. 27 player in the class of 2024. Johnson has played some incredible basketball over the past couple of seasons, and this has helped him skyrocket up the recruiting rankings.

This season with Thornton Township High School, Johnson is averaging 17.9 points, 13.5 rebounds, 3.1 blocks, 3.0 assists, and 2.3 steals per game. His great play has helped the Wildcats to an overall record of 23-3 and a 9-1 record in the Southland Conference. Two of those losses were to Homewood-Flossmoor, the No. 1 team in 4A in Illinois, by a total of three points.

Johnson has Thornton playing at a high level. The Wildcats are currently the No. 1 team in class 3A in the state of Illinois, and they also check in on the top 100 list of high school programs in the country.

According to MaxPreps, Thornton currently sits at No. 62 in the nation, which is a one-spot drop after the second loss to Homewood-Flossmoor. Still, being ranked in the top 100 among all high school teams in the United States is quite an accomplishment. There are roughly 17,000 high school basketball teams in the nation.

Morez Johnson Jr. has a chance to do something Illinois basketball star Ty Rodgers couldn’t accomplish

The numbers that Johnson is putting up are quite impressive. Thornton is trucking through their opponents and has only stumbled a few times en route to being one of the best teams in the country.

Thornton was pretty good a couple of years ago too. In 2021-22, the Wildcats had current Illini star Ty Rodgers leading the way. That season, Rodgers averaged 15.3 points, 13.9 rebounds, 7.3 assists, 3.0 steals, and 2.9 blocks per game. He helped propel Thornton to an overall record of 23-6 and was 10-2 in the Southland Conference.

While the regular season was great and Rodgers put up big numbers, Thornton would come up short in the postseason. They made it to the sectional finals only to come up seven points shy of Lemont High School.

Getting to what amounts to the Sweet 16 of the 3A State Championship is still pretty impressive, but Johnson has a chance to surpass that accomplishment this season. With three games left in the regular season, Thornton is likely to enter the state tournament as the No. 1 seed. I fully expect the Wildcats to not only get back to the Sectional Final, but I think they could make a run and win the 3A State Title. This team is special and is led by the best player in the state of Illinois.

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