Illinois Fighting Illini hoops media day highlights

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john groce

New Illinois Fighting Illini coach John Groce addressed the media yesterday. The Bruce Weber era is over in Champaign, and Groce talked about the future. Here’s some of what he had to say

On the team make-up

“We’ve got four seniors who take pride in what they did in the spring and summer, in terms of leading the young guys.”

On replacing Meyers Leonard

“You have to replace him by committee. We have a relatively inexperienced front-court, but we have bodies. But my bigger concern is ball-handling. People asked me if we’re going to be able to play as fast as we want to, and I don’t know, you don’t want to put a square peg in a round hole.”

On the NCAA’s sporadic practice schedule, and how the regular practice schedule will help him learn more about the team

“We’re going to get some information this weekend, as we practice back to back to back.”

On leadership

“You can say you’re a leader, but if you have no one following you, you’re not a leader.”

On who’s getting better the most on the team

“The guy that stood out is Nnanna Egwu, you ask him to do 10 push ups he does 13. You ask him to become a student of the game, he goes in and asks for DVDs. He just goes consistently above and beyond the norm.”

On how deep his rotation will be.

“I like to play 9, but I’ve played 7, or 10. I have no personal agenda, players play players, I just want to put the best team out there.”

On ball handling

“Our goal is to have more assists than turnovers, with our attacking style we’re going to have turnovers.”

On Joseph Bertrand

“Joseph is extremely athletic, the more we get up an down the more it benefits Joseph. He’s certainly really talented, and he likes to get the ball in the paint which will help our chances and getting to the free throw line.”

on Sam McLaurin

“the thing I like about him is his versatility. And he’s one of the new guys but he likes to lead. He’ll be able to play four and five for us. The more stops we get, the more we’ll be able to run out in transition.”

Paul M. Banks is CEO of The Sports Bank.net, an official Google News site generating millions of unique visitors. He’s also a regular contributor to Chicago Now, Chicago Tribune.com, Walter Football.com, Yardbarker, and Fox Sports

A Fulbright scholar and MBA, Banks has appeared on live radio all over the world; and he’s a member of the Football Writers Association of America, U.S. Basketball Writers Association, and Society of Professional Journalists. The President of the United States follows him on Twitter (@Paul_M_BanksTSB) You should too

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