Monday, May 27, 2024

Good Morning, Illini Nation: Another USA Basketball opportunity

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Welcome to “Good Morning, Illini Nation,” your daily dose of college basketball news from Illini beat writer and AP Top 25 voter Scott Richey. He’ll offer up insights every morning on Brad Underwood’s team and college basketball at large:

Morez Johnson Jr. made his USA Basketball debut in April when he played for the junior national select team at the Nike Hoop Summit. The future Illinois big man put up eight points, four rebounds and one block in 12 minutes in Team USA’s 98-75 against the World Select team.

Johnson will get another crack at a Team USA roster spot this month during the U18 national team training camp scheduled to start May 23 in Colorado Springs, Colo. The 2024 News-Gazette All-State Player of the Year was one of 30 players invited to the training camp from the 2024, 2025 and 2026 recruiting classes.

Class of 2025 Illinois commit Jeremiah Fears also earned an invitation to this month’s training camp. A roster will be narrowed down from the training camp group to represent the U.S. at the 2024 FIBA U18 AmeriCup from June 3-9 in Buenos Aires.

Johnson’s Team USA experience dates back to 2022. He attended a training camp for the U17 national team that year and also participated in a junior national team minicamp in October 2023.

The U18 training camp will be led by U18 national team coach Tommy Lloyd (Arizona) and assistant coaches Grant McCasland (Texas Tech) and Micah Shrewsberry (Notre Dame). They’ll be joined during the first part of the training camp by coaches Justin Gray (Coastal Carolina), Ben McCollum (Drake), Josh Schertz (Saint Louis) and Jon Scheyer (Duke).

Training camp roster

Class of 2024

  • Daniel Jacobsen, 7-2, C, Brewster Academy (N.H.) — Purdue
  • Tre Johnson, 6-6, SG, Link Academy (Mo.) — Texas
  • Morez Johnson Jr., 6-9, C, Thornton — Illinois
  • Patrick Ngongba II, 6-11, C, Paul VI (Va.) — Duke
  • Jayden Quaintance, 6-9, C, Word of God (N.C.) — Arizona State

Class of 2025

  • Darius Acuff Jr., 6-3, G, IMG Academy (Fla.)
  • Nate Ament, 6-9, PF, Highland School (Va.)
  • Mikel Brown Jr., 6-2, PG, Overtime Elite
  • Nikola Bundalo, 6-11, PF, Western Reserve Academy (Ohio)
  • Jerry Easter II, 6-3, CG, La Lumiere School (Ind.)
  • Jeremiah Fears, 6-3, CG, Compass Prep (Ariz.)
  • Jeremiah Green, 6-3, PG, Sunrise Christian (Kan.)
  • Hudson Greer, 6-6, SF, Lake Travis (Texas)
  • Shelton Henderson, 6-6, SF, Bellaire (Texas)
  • Jasper Johnson, 6-4, CG, Link Academy (Mo.)
  • Jamier Jones, 6-6, SF, Oak Ridge (Fla.) — Providence
  • Nikolas Khamenia, 6-8, PF, Harvard Westlake (Calif.)
  • Nyk Lewis, 6-1, PG, Gonzaga (D.C.)
  • Jack McCaffery, 6-8, SF, Iowa City West (Iowa)
  • Trey McKenney, 6-4, SF, St. Mary’s (Mich.)
  • Malachi Moreno, 6-11, C, Great Crossing (Ky.)
  • Mazi Mosley, 6-5, SG, St. Francis (Calif.)
  • Xavion Staton, 7-0, C, Sierra Vista (Nev.)
  • Meleek Thomas, 6-4, CG, Lincoln Park Performing Arts (Pa.)
  • Sadiq White Jr., 6-8, PF, Myers Park (N.C.)
  • Sebastian Williams-Adams, 6-8, PF, St. John’s (Texas)
  • Caleb Wilson, 6-9, PF, Holy Innocents Episcopal (Ga.)

Class of 2026

  • Alex Constanza, 6-8, SF, Westminster Academy (Fla.)
  • Kaden House, 6-3, CG, Desert Mountain (Ariz.)
  • Kalek House, 6-3, SG, Desert Mountain (Ariz.)

Scott Richey is a reporter covering college basketball at The News-Gazette. His email is, and you can follow him on Twitter (@srrichey).

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