2013-14 Season In Review, Part 9: The Enigmatic Tracy Abrams

Andy Lyons

The 2013-14 season was a frustrating one for the junior point guard.

I watched a lot of musicals as a child. Mom always had them on, so it just seemed like a normal part of life from years 1-10. The one I remember seeing far more times than any other is "Jesus Christ Superstar". So it makes perfect sense to me that the song I most associate with Tracy Abrams is "I Don't Know How to Love Him".


I was at Tracy's breakout game. I happily watched the young man explode against Auburn from my seat in the press box. The rest of the season, the offense flowed through Abrams. His first year as a starter ended well enough, though not spectacularly. His eFG% was .440, which is solid enough for a sophomore. His AST% was a nice 25.2%. He was by no means perfect, but he had established a solid baseline to build upon over the next two seasons.

Except somewhere along the line, things went sideways. Yes, he was still averaging double digit points per game and even slightly improved in that aspect (10.6 to 10.7) but he did so far less effectively. Abrams eFG% dropped all the way down to .333. That is a terrible number for a starter to have. He backslid in assists as well with his AST% slipping down to 23.1%. He was completely lost on offense and it showed.

Other than a handful of games (@Mizzou, @Auburn, Indiana), there really isn't much to look back on fondly. His shot selection was terrible and it cost the Illini more than a few games.Nothing sums up his season quite like the bricked lay-up to end the Illini's Big Ten Tourney run and dreams of sneaking in the back door for the big dance.

Illinois-abrams-game-winning-miss_medium

Tracy will be a team leader next season because he's a senior and entering his third year as a starter, but the writing is on the wall for his career if he doesn't bounce back. Jaylon Tate will have a year of experience and will start knocking heavily on the door. The last remnants of the Bruce Weber era are on their way out.

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