CHAMPAIGN, Ill. (WCIA) — The holidays look different for a lot of people this year, and Illini basketball is not exempt.
Instead of going home for a holiday break this year, the Fighting Illini are still hard at work and practicing. Players are not able to travel home as to not risk exposure to COVID-19. The NCAA does mandate three days off during this period, and Brad Underwood says they usually take that from Dec. 22-25. They will instead take those days after Saturday’s game.
Players and coaches had their own event as a team Friday where Underwood reflected on his teams buy-in and maturity this season.
“I could not think of better people, and people, I’m not saying players I’m saying people, that I would rather be with than my staff and this group of players,” says Underwood. “It speaks volumes to their character. I feel very strongly about their commitment to want to do this and pull this season off. I’m very, very proud, that shows tremendous maturity on a group of guys to sacrifice and commit, to want to do what they have a passion to do.”
The Illini are back on the court when they host Indiana Saturday. The last time the Illini played on Dec. 26 was 1992 when they lost on the road to Texas.