LIVE! Illinois hosts Arkansas State with Bosmans-Verdonk’s family eager to see him play for first time


CHAMPAIGN (WCIA) — Andre Curbelo and Trent Frazier will both make their season debuts Friday night against Arkansas State. The Illini guards missed the season opener Tuesday night with injuries, Curbelo in concussion protocol, Frazier recovering from a hurt shoulder. Meanwhile Austin Hutcherson has a bruised tailbone, he’s not expected to suit up against the Red Wolves. Juggling a roster full of unknowns is a concern for fifth year head coach Brad Underwood, who also won’t have Kofi Cockburn against Arkansas State. He’s serving the second of a three game NCAA suspension for selling his team issued gear over the summer.

“It’s a give and take because there are some parts of me that are uncomfortable because you want to live your life in that rut, you want to know exactly what you’ve got everyday, you want to know how you get better and we don’t have a lot of those pieces,” Underwood said. “We’ve got to find ways to win, we’re learning a lot and I like what we’re learning but you’ve got to find a comfort zone at some point.”

The Illini (1-0) got a big boost off the bench from Benjamin Bosmans-Verdonk in the team’s 71-47 win over Jackson State Tuesday night. The redshirt sophomore had a game and career high 10 rebounds, to go along with five points and three assists in 21 minutes. The Belgian’s family is in town, eager to see him take the court for the first time. They visited Champaign two years ago but the 6-foot-8 forward didn’t get in the game.

“Super excited, it means the world, especially for them,” Bosmans-Verdonk said. “It’s been a long, long road. Long history of injuries, and with that comes I’m here chasing my dream and they just got to miss me. I’m hoping to get in, play well tomorrow so they get to see what it’s like.”

Illinois and Arkansas State tip-off at 8 p.m. in a game that is only on Big Ten Network Plus, meaning a subscription is needed to view the online only stream.

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