“California cool” Jacob Grandison leads Illinois to win at Iowa


IOWA CITY, Iowa (WCIA) — Jacob Grandison carries a vibe that few can replicate. Maybe it’s his upbringing or experience that allows him to be poised no matter what’s going on around him, but regardless, the Illinois senior guard has the respect and admiration from both his head coach and teammates.

“He’s kind of got that ‘California cool’ mentality about him,” Illinois head coach Brad Underwood said. “He’s not afraid of the moment. He’s a guy that can make a mistake and just shrug it off, it’s just next play and he’s got great composure. I’m really proud of Jake, he’s playing fantastic basketball.”

Grandison and Alfonso Plummer each scored a game high 21 points at Iowa Monday night, leading Illinois to its first win at Carver-Hawkeye Arena since 2017. The Illini (7-2, 2-0) also got 17 points and a career high 18 points from Kofi Cockburn, who echoed Underwood’s comments on Grandison’s one of a kind personality.

“Jake’s the most level headed guy I’ve ever seen in my life,” Illinois junior center Kofi Cockburn said. “He’s just so calm and level headed, never seen anything like it.”

“I think it’s leadership, whoever is in the game, the five people have got to tell people to calm down and settle in,” Grandison said about leading the Illini through several ups and downs against the Hawkeyes. “Attention to detail, execution.”

Illinois returns to the court on Saturday in its marquee non-conference game of the season, hosting No. 11 Arizona at 4 p.m.

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