June 29, 2011
A New Leader for the Illini?
A lack of leadership is usually an excuse for things not going the way they were supposed to go. It's intangible, so you can't measure it or really even define it. However, you definitely notice it when it is missing. The Illini season of 2010-11 became a season of discontent in large part due to a lack of leadership. Usually that comes from the point guard position and the veterans on the team, but despite the fact that Illinois had 4 seniors and a star point guard that was an all conference type of player, they never were able to fill that role and find someone to be that leader.
With the loss of those 4 seniors and a talented but young freshman class coming into the program, it was hard to see that area improving in 2011-12. The point guard reigns were expected to be handed off to incoming frosh Tracy Abrams, a player that although talented has battled injuries and still has much to learn about the position on the collegiate level. The question marks were prevalent, and the point guard position appeared to be a weakness.
Enter Sam Maniscalco. A preseason all conference player a year ago in the Missouri Valley, Maniscalco brings the intangibles to a program in dire need of them. Sam is a player that has gotten it done both on and off the court for Bradley and 3 weeks into his Illinois tenure he is ready to assume a leadership role.
"I'm really enjoying it. It's a really great group of guys and they have welcomed me in," Maniscalco said. "We're only a couple of weeks in, but everything has gone smoothly so far, in the weight room, on the court and in the classroom. The guys are working hard in the program right now and competing, so it's going well."
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