Andre Curbelo, Kofi Cockburn Lead an Illinois Team Ready to Run and Shoot – The Athletic

Brad Underwood, if anything, is self-aware. The 57-year-old has come a long way in his coaching climb and has seen this, done it, and understands quite well who he is and how he coaches. So when asked if he’s taken the time to appreciate what he’s built at Illinois – scoring 45-17 overall and 29-11 in the Big Ten over the past two years, after finishing cases 26-39 and 11-27 in years one and two – he’s brutally honest. He said no, not really.

Underwood explained that he tends to “coach many times with the empty glass.”

OK, in that case, let’s start things off by looking at the negatives. Illinois loses Ayo Dosunmu (profession), Giorgi Bezhanishvili (professional and Adam Miller (transfer, LSU) from a team that landed in the 1-seeded row during last season’s NCAA Tournament. Noisy. And all three members of the coaching staff last year – Orlando Antigua (Kentucky), Chin Coleman (Kentucky) and Stephen Gentry (Gonzaga) – departed for the season to new schools. Oh my God. And the scars of last season’s stunning second-round NCAA Tournament loss to a mid-tier neighbor like Loyola Chicago are still fresh and new. Can be rotated.

Many programs about college basketball will be reeling.


It’s a pre-season top 10 team and a contender for the Big Ten title. Andre Curbelo, Kofi Cockburn Lead an Illinois Team Ready to Run and Shoot – The Athletic

Chris Estrada

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