(WCIA) — After leading the Illini to big wins against Nebraska and Wisconsin, Illinois guard Andre Curbelo is the Big Ten Freshman of the Week. The freshman stepped up to fill the role of Ayo Dosunmu who has been sidelined with a facial injury.
With Illinois’ future All-American on the bench for the last two games, Curbelo combined for 27 points, 19 rebounds, while going 6-for-6 from the free throw line. Against Nebraska, the Puerto Rico native had his first career double-double and was just two assists shy of the triple-double. Curbelo also helped lead the Illini to a win at No.23 Wisconsin, setting his scoring-high in Big Ten play with 17 points.
“I’ve always been a guy that likes a challenge. That’s what I came here for,” says Curbelo. “We were a man down in those games and we knew it, and that’s what it’s about at the end of the day and you have to pick up your brothers. Just going to continue to embrace that role and get better everyday.”
“He doesn’t fear the moment,” says head coach Brad Underwood. “He’s an alpha, his personality thrives in those situations, and he’s been that guy his whole career.”
Curbelo is now averaging 8.1 points, 3.8 rebounds and 4.2 assists on the year.