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J. Thomas McNamara

    On the last day of the early signing period, Ty Rodgers of Harvey Thornton signed with Illinois.
The final day of the early signing period turned out to be a good one for the Illinois men’s basketball team.  A week after signing four-star guards Jayden Epps and Sencire Harris, the Illini added the four-star Rodgers.
    Rodgers will play his first game with his new teammates at 6 against Eisenhower.
Rodgers, who was at State Farm Center last week for Illinois’ 92-53 win against Arkansas State, chose Illinois from a final four that also included Michigan State, Alabama and Memphis. Adding Rodgers to the Class of 2022 with Epps and Harris bumped Illinois up to fourth in the Big Ten and 18th nationally from eighth and  38th, respectively, before his decision.
Rodgers, a Grand Blanc, Mich., native is playing his senior season at Thornton for Tai Streets, who also coached him with Meanstreets on the Nike EYBL circuit. Rodgers averaged 8.2 points, 7.4 rebounds, 3.6 assists and 1.1 steals for Meanstreets this past summer while shooting 54 percent from the field, 33 percent from three-point range and 64 percent from the free throw line.
That solid summer production came after Rodgers led Grand Blanc (Mich.) to the Division I state championship. The Bobcats finished 15-2, and Rodgers, who is the nephew of former Michigan State and NBA star Jason Richardson, averaged 17.8 points, 9.4 rebounds, 3.7 assists and 2.3 steals for the 2020-21 season.
     I suggest fans arrive early to lineup outside the SDMS doors which open at 5 for the 6 o’clock tipoff.  There’s already going to be a delay as all fans will be wand for security purposes.  A standing room only crowd is expected.
     After all, the Illini commit will be making his Illinois high school with Thornton Tuesday night.
     I will have more on this developing story in a future print edition of the Decatur Tribune.

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