June 13, 2024

One of the best in the state will return home with the Illini. Since he first entered the high school scene, Jeremiah Fears has been a well-known prospect. When he was a freshman at Joliet West in 2021, he was one of the talk of the Riverside-Brookfield Summer Shootout because of his exceptional scoring skills. Jeremy Fears Sr. insisted from the beginning that Jeremiah might be even more talented than his older son, Jeremy Fears Jr., a McDonald’s All-American who is a freshman at Michigan State.

The two brothers play differently and with different abilities. Fears Jr. has always been characterised as a playmaker who passes first, has a powerful build, excellent burst, and a never-ending competitive fire at both ends of the floor. Jeremiah, on the other hand, has a reputation for being a gifted shot-maker with a modest build and a “cool cat” attitude. The younger Fears has shown himself to be a skilled ball handler and an underappreciated distributor over time.

Regarded as a national treasure, he has garnered immense esteem. On the EYBL 17U circuit this past spring and summer, fears were amplified. In September, he was among a select few chosen to participate in a Nike showcase event in New York City. He took part in the USA Basketball Junior National Team Minicamp the following month. Fears is currently ranked No. 44 overall in the 2025 class by 247Sports. The Joliet, Illinois native, who moved to Arizona Compass Prep this past summer, would have been the state’s top-ranked player for his age group.

College basketball’s national championship contenders, tiered

Over the course of the season, ten out of the previous twelve national championship winners opened, remained, and closed among Ken Pomeroy’s top-11 rankings. Interestingly, UConn was the exception to the rule in both 2011 and 2014. There are just five teams remaining that, if history is any guide, have played within those boundaries this season: Houston, Purdue, Arizona, Tennessee, and UConn (hey, again).

However, this season is not like any other. College basketball has been rocked by transfers, fifth-year seniors, late additions, and midseason arrivals. It seems really open.

However, some competitors might have begun to drift apart. These alphas should be divided into tiers:

Tier 1: These groups of teams are among the top competitors. If this coach climbed up onto the ladder to cut down the nets in the first few days of April, you wouldn’t be the slightest bit surprised.
Tier 2: These groups are attempting to enter the inner circle. Despite having a few small imperfections, they are a strong team capable of winning anything given the right circumstances.
Tier 3: They have the talent, but certain shortcomings prevent them from rising to that elite level. They have the potential to succeed if they get the correct breaks.

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