Illini signee on his game: “I like to play inside and out”

Sports

New 7-foot Illinois basketball player Brandon Lieb discusses his strengths and weaknesses

WCIA — Illinois basketball’s newest signee adds some size but also some versatility to the team’s front court. Brandon Lieb stands seven feet tall but doesn’t want his game to be defined by just playing in the post. The Deerfield native showed his ability to shoot, including from 3, last season as a senior.

“I shot about 40 percent from 3 and 65 percent from the field,” Lieb said during a FaceTime call after committing on Thursday. “I’m a 7-footer but I like to play inside and out. My jump shot, just from junior to senior year of high school is something I worked on a lot, to be able to stretch the floor.”

Lieb weighs just 210 pounds and could be a redshirt candidate, especially if Big Ten Freshman of the Year Kofi Cockburn returns, after declaring for the NBA Draft. Lieb averaged 13.5 points, 9.3 rebounds and 2.5 blocks in his final prep year, earning third-team All-State honors.

“You know a bunch of (college) coaches in the past few days have called me a stretch five,” Lieb said. “I love being a rim protector and blocking shots, just using my length around the hoop. And obviously there’s stuff I need to improve. I mean obviously adding strength is obviously going to help a lot in different areas.”

Lieb committed after a crazy two weeks that saw him get five high major offers. After Oklahoma offered on June 11, DePaul, Oklahoma State, Utah and Illinois followed. The last offer was the one that shut down his recruitment though, with Lieb calling it his ‘dream school.’

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