Illini basketball returns to practice after COVID-19 pause, set to play two games in three days this week


CHAMPAIGN (WCIA) — The Illinois men’s basketball team was back on the practice court Sunday afternoon, following its COVID-19 pause. The Illini were scheduled to play at Minnesota on Sunday evening in Minneapolis but the game was postponed to Tuesday, in accordance with the Big Ten’s return to play protocols following positive COVID-19 results within the Illini program. It’s the second game that has been altered so far this season, following the non-conference finale against Florida A&M canceled last week. In that time, the team has held multiple activities to try and stay in shape, but with various players missing, according to a team spokesperson.

As a result of the shifting schedule, the Illini (9-3, 2-0 B1G) will play two games in three days this week, with Maryland coming to State Farm Center on Thursday for the Ayo Dosunmu jersey ceremony. Thanks to its two league wins in December, Illinois already has a head start in conference action, with wins over Rutgers and Iowa.

Trent Frazier has been a key for the Orange and Blue the last four games, making 56% of his shots, including 14 3-pointers in that stretch. After battling injuries earlier in the year, the super-senior is doing his best to leave a legacy, continuing the program turnaround under now fifth-year head coach Brad Underwood.

“He’s been my guy since day one, he’s always had my back and vice versa,” Frazier said about Underwood. “I took on the challenge to be just like him every time I step on the court, he’s always fighting for us. It doesn’t matter the assignment, I try to take on his identity of what he wants this team, this program to be about.”

“I mean Trent’s a really good player and he’s one of the more underappreciated players in the country,” Underwood said. “He plays on the ball, off the ball, guards the other team’s best player, never turns it over and plays close to 40 minutes every night and does whatever it takes to win.”

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