LINCOLN, Neb. (WCIA) — Ty Rodgers didn’t stuff the stat sheet at Nebraska Tuesday night but Illinois head coach Brad Underwood raved about his highly touted freshman wing in the postgame press conference. Underwood opened up his time at the mic talking about Rodgers’ impact on the game, grabbing seven rebounds (four offensive) in 16 minutes, in addition to four points.

“His impact on this game won’t show in any of the stat lines maybe other than his rebounding but he’s establishing in a lot of ways what we’ve been fighting for, what I’ve been fighting for; our culture,” Underwood said. “His versatility, his impact on the game, was tremendous. We had a lot of foul trouble throughout the first half. Most of you guys know I don’t like to play guys with two. We had to do that a little bit. But Ty (Rodgers) gives us that guy who can guard any position, and then he had half of our offensive rebounds. So, I thought he was tremendous.”

Rodgers has played in every game this season for the Illini (11-5, 2-3 B1G) but his minutes have fluctuated from only seeing a few minutes on the court against UCLA and Virginia, to playing 12 to 20 minutes against teams like Maryland, Syracuse and Nebraska. A Top 60 national recruit out of Michigan who played his senior season at Thornton Township in Chicago, Rodgers says Tuesday night’s game in Lincoln was a big confidence booster.

“I feel like I’ve been struggling a little bit so to come out here tonight and help my team get this win, it was huge for me,” Rodgers said. “Just being able to let everything the past go and come out here and contribute, it was big for me.”

Rodgers and the Illini return to the court Friday night hosting Big Ten leader Michigan State at 8 p.m. in an Orange Out game at State Farm Center.