The University of Illinois will send two students to New York City on October 19th to represent the Illini Men’s Basketball program at Big Ten Media Days in Madison Square Garden. Redshirt Junior forwards Leron Black and Michael Finke will join Head Coach Brad Underwood for the event, which will be the first appearance for both players. Last season, Malcolm Hill and Tracy Abrams were selected as the student representatives for the event (held in Washington DC). Last season, both Black and Finke were named Academic All-Big Ten Players. For a full list of attendees, see the Big Ten’s release here.
Black finished the 2016-2017 campaign averaging a team-best 6.3 rebounds per game (196 total), and finished in the Top 5 in both defensive rebounding and total rebounding percentage in the Big Ten. His career rebounding percentage places him 8th in the Big Ten Conference heading into this season. Finke provided a lot of support off the bench in 2016-17, and finished in the Top 3 in team 3pt shooting percentage (.411) despite battling a foot injury late in the season. Both players are potential conference standout players heading into the 2017-2018 season.
New York City will be a focal point of the Big Ten conference this season, as both media day and the Big Ten Conference Basketball Tournament will take place in Madison Square Garden. The conference tournament will begin on February 28th, and run through the first week of March. Illinois will begin conference play on December 1st when they travel to the Allstate Arena to face the Northwestern Wildcats.