CHAMPAIGN (WCIA) — In just over a week, the Illinois men’s basketball team will be getting back on the court as they start their preseason slate next Saturday.
Hype is continuing to build as the start of the season gets closer. It was helped today by CBS Insider Jon Rothstein tweeting from Illinois practice that sophomore Andre Curbelo could be a “Top 10” player in the country and is ready to “explode like a volcano.”
There is reason to buy-in to the hype, the reigning Big Ten Sixth Man of the Year seems set to join the starting line-up after coming off the bench in every game last season. Curbelo averaged nine points a game and four assists per game then. But to head coach Brad Underwood, the way Curbelo improves every Illini player on the court is what he is most looking forward to.
“There’s very few people in my opinion that make others better,” says Underwood. “Literally can make others better and dominate a game. [Andre] all of a sudden you look down and he’s got 17 points and 8 or 9 assists, he’s always been a great rebounder. It’s fun to see guys enjoy making others better.”
It will not be long now until we see what all the hype has been about. The Illini host St. Francis on Oct. 23 for the preseason opener, and then the real show gets started Nov. 9 against Jackson State.