CHAMPAIGN (WCIA) — The Illinois men’s basketball team has more newcomers (8) than returners (4) for the 2018-19 season. Redshirt junior Kipper Nichols is one of those experienced players back with the team this season, he talks with WCIA 3’s Annice McEwan after a summer workout on Thursday.
“How has the off-season been? How are workouts going and how is the team coming together?”
“It’s been great. Especially with the younger guys. We’ve been bringing them along at a great pace thus far. We’re continuing to learn and get better.
“What are some of these new guys showing you and what are you excited about with them?”
“Like I said, they’re just learning. They’re starting to gain more of a sensitivity to the nuance of our offense and all the little details. So, I’m excited because they come in eager to learn everyday, and they go hard and they’re hungry.”
“What challenges are present when you’re kind of the big guy right now?”
“With the guys we have and the coaching staff we have, they make my job as a leader easy. The same thing goes for everybody in this building. We’re really trying to change the culture here so every day everyone is trying to learn something. Somebody is trying to lend a hand to help each other out. So that makes the job easy.”
“How much easier is it for you guys as a team in this second off-season with Underwood?”
“Definitely a lot easier. He was hard on us last year, as you guys know. I think that really helped us to be able to teach the new guys.”
“You, in particular, we saw him going at you quite a bit on the sidelines. Did you like that he was so hard on you?”
“In the moment, you don’t really see it, but hindsight is always 20/20. Looking back on it, I’m very appreciative. I can just tell that it helped me just by how the summer is going, how things have progressively gotten easier for me, and also, like I said, be a leader and teach other guys.”