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Illinois Basketball Player Preview: Brandon Lieb

The freshman big man from Deerfield will look to take a year as an understudy.

Illinois Athletics/247 Sports

Listed at 7-foot-0 and 210 pounds, Brandon Lieb has the frame to become a solid Big Ten center for the Illinois Fighting Illini to whom he committed on June 25, 2020. That said, the freshman likely has a ways to go before he sees significant playing time for the Illini.

Lieb averaged 13.5 points, 9.3 rebounds, and 2.5 blocks during his senior season at Deerfield. As a recruit, Lieb chose Illinois over a number of other programs including the Oklahoma Sooners, Oklahoma State Cowboys, and the Utah Utes, all of whom saw Lieb as a big man with the ability to attack the basket in a number of different ways.

What to Expect

With Lieb likely playing behind Kofi Cockburn, Giorgi Bezhanishvili, and Coleman Hawkins, I would expect him to take a redshirt season in 2020-2021. Lieb likely needs to gain at least another 25-30 pounds in the weight room to be competitive in the paint against Big Ten opponents. Although he certainly shows potential, Lieb will still need to add a few post maneuvers to his arsenal as well.

Good basketball programs develop talent from early on and groom them to be experts on their respective systems. Having significant depth at the center position is a great asset to a player like Lieb, who can take his time and develop as an underclassman, unlike Cockburn and Bezhanishvili.