Illini Basketball Should Start Aaron Jordan, Effective Immediately


aaron jordan

The 6-0 start that Illini basketball got off to this season masked a lot of the issues that the team has. Junior guard Aaron Jordan is certainly not one of them. He entered the heart-breaking 72-68 OT loss to Northwestern at AllState Arena leading the NCAA in 3-point shooting at 65.5 percent (19-29).

Jordan also came into the game ranked eighth nationally in kenpom offensive rating at 149.6. He also came in to this one fifth in the Big Ten in field goal shooting at 63.6 percent, and fourth on the team in rebounding (4.4 rpg).

brad underwood

Jordan also made the trip to Rosemont tied for the Illini basketball team lead with nine steals, and riding a streak of four games with at least four  3-pointers made. It’s quite clear, the decision needs to be made- Illini basketball coach Brad Underwood needs to start Aaron Jordan.

He was severely limited by foul trouble in this game, a really devastating loss for Illinois, but he still managed to finish fourth on the team in points tonight.

This Illini basketball team has plenty of room for improvement, and making this lineup change would almost certainly make things better. We didn’t know much about Illinois at all entering this week, but it’s a five day stretch with three key games. They’re zero for the first two.

aaron jordan

Getting back to Jordan, the next natural question is obviously- who does he replace?

Well, as accomplished a player at the NCAA level as Mark Alstork is, he’s still the one who needs to see his minutes decline in favor of Jordan. Alstork just hasn’t really been able to get it going this season, and his numbers and percentages are well below what he usually produces.

Also, becoming less dependent on Alstork and more so on Jordan is good for the future, as the former is a graduate student transfer.

This Illini basketball season does have a rebuilding, youth movement theme in the big picture after all.

mark alstork illini basketball

Jordan, a John Groce recruit obviously, played in 31 of 34 games with six starts as a freshman in 2015-16, averaging 3.3 points. He averaged just 2.3 points last year as a sophomore in 24 games. His explosiveness this season just makes you wonder what exactly Groce was watching, and obviously missed, in practice everyday.

The 6-5, 210 Plainfield product averaged just 2.3 points last year as a sophomore, and entered the season as a 30 percent career shooter from 3-point land.

He came into the NU game second on the team in scoring, averaging 13.0 points, as his increased production is truly a testament to all of the work he did in the offseason to improve.

All his time spent on conditioning and working hard in the weight room as paid off.

Paul M. Banks runs The Sports and TheBank.News, which is partnered with News Now. Banks, a former writer for the Washington Times, NBC and Chicago, currently contributes regularly to WGN CLTV and the Tribune company’s blogging community Chicago Now.

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