Welcome to “Good Morning, Illini Nation,” your daily dose of college basketball news from Illini writer and AP Top 25 voter Scott Richey. He will offer information on Brad Underwood’s team every morning:
Brad Underwood has started discussing his desire for his team to be tougher even before the 2021-22 season begins. It’s not that the Illini are totally lacking in this regard. Underwood simply has higher expectations when it comes to toughness.
Waiting, the Illinois coach said he was starting to see his team reach. This was evident in Tuesday’s 71-47 season opener against Jackson State. The Illini lost four key players in rotation and still won.
“I push them,” Underwood said. “I think our guys would tell you we’re trying. I don’t mean tenacity and pushing them through me yelling at them. It makes them a little uncomfortable and pushes through that and learns to perform and to. set screens when you ‘retried and you are breathing hard.You have to walk to the free throw line when you are exhausted and you have to perform a free throw.
“It’s all those little things like that that come with discomfort and adversity. I think we’re improving a lot – a lot better. I think we’ve made huge strides in this area since I started. to talk about it before the first one I’m excited about it. I love where our leadership is at. I’m starting to see leadership forming, and that’s something that helps in the tenacity area. “