Could Malcolm Hill's on-court role with the Illini be changing this season? John Groce recently informed CBS Sports' Jon Rothstein that the senior forward will be used more extensively on the perimeter this Winter. That's an outstanding development because, from my point of view, Hill has been playing out of position for his entire Illinois career.
John Groce told @CBSSports that Illinois hopes to use Malcolm Hill more extensively on the perimeter next season.— Jon Rothstein (@JonRothstein) July 25, 2016
Illinois' poor roster composition in recent years has forced Hill into a sort of hybrid guard/forward role on offense. That obviously worked out well from an individual standpoint at times, but the lack of additional playmakers really hampered the team's production on a regular basis. So I'm really excited to see what Hill can do while playing in a role that's more suited to his skill set.
Rothstein also passed on some updates about newcomers Kipper Nichols and Te'Jon Lucas. The Fighting Illini will apply for an NCAA waiver in hopes of having Nichols available for the start of the year. The redshirt-freshman received financial aid from Tulane last Fall, so he wasn't able to officially transfer to Illinois until December; as a result, his sit-out year currently extends through the first semester.
John Groce told @CBSSports that Illinois will apply for a waiver with NCAA for Kipper Nichols. Slated to be eligible in December. 6-6 wing.— Jon Rothstein (@JonRothstein) July 25, 2016
Illinois freshman PG Te'Jon Lucas (foot) hopes to fully healthy for the start of practice on October 1st, John Groce told @CBSSports.— Jon Rothstein (@JonRothstein) July 25, 2016
Lucas went down with a broken foot in February, and he's been slowly recovering since. I don't think there was ever a worry that he wouldn't be ready for the start of the season, but it's a reassuring update nonetheless.
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Lovie Smith and Illinois' three player representatives are in Chicago to speak with members of the media. Smith's press conference will take place at 8:00am on Tuesday morning, but we'll be keeping you updated throughout the day if you can't watch.
At the media day event of 2015, Illini officials including Athletics Director Mike Thomas, were brought here to help guide Beckman through a series of tense and awkward questions about player mistreatment under his watch.
On the surface this seems like a really bad recruiting loss for Lovie Smith and the Fighting Illini. The defensive line is a huge area of weakness going forward, and Harris would've given them a quality piece heading into the Fall.