Welcome to “Good Morning Illini Nation,” your each day dose of faculty basketball information from Illini author and AP High 25 voter Scott Richey. He’ll present info every morning on Brad Underwood’s staff:
Solely three Illinois gamers – Alfonso Plummer, Da’Monte Williams and Coleman Hawkins – appeared in all 33 video games final season. The opposite Illini regulars have been all sidelined for a number of video games. Prospect Austin Hutcherson missed 29 video games to assert the title for many missed video games, however Andre Curbelo (14 video games), Kofi Cockburn (5), Jacob Grandison (three) and Trent Frazier (two) have been additionally typically unavailable throughout the season.
This summer time was totally different on that entrance for Illinois. Other than Matthew Mayer’s nagging again points, the Illini have been wholesome, together with freshman guard Skyy Clark, who’s again to 100 p.c primarily a yr faraway from a torn ACL.
“(Power and conditioning coach Adam Fletcher) appears like we had an ideal summer time,” Illinois coach Brad Underwood mentioned. “I’ve a variety of confidence in his opinion and the way he feels about our stuff on that facet of issues. He thinks we have taken steps the place we would have liked to take them. He believes the returnees have improved. RJ (Melendez) was 210 (kilos) the opposite day, which is the primary time he is hit that mark.
“Lots of work and a variety of credit score goes to Fletch and (staff dietitian Palmer Johnson) for his or her work not simply within the weight room, however by way of vitamin. They eat each meal with them. It is a vital a part of growth. of our student-athletes, and to succeed in these milestones is really one thing nice. I noticed Dain Dainja below 260 (kilos). Dain had an ideal summer time and went the opposite approach by way of weight reduction. He constructed his stadium. He jogged throughout the stadium each morning. He is put himself able to be in elite type when the season begins and it is a variety of onerous work to try this.”