Our pick to click: Andres Feliz

Our pick to click: Andres Feliz

In his weekly podcast, 'Inside Illini Basketball,' beat writer Scott Richey was asked about the breakout player on Brad Underwood's team. His choice:

CHAMPAIGN — Trent Frazier is Illinois' top returning scorer. Ayo Dosunmu is the prized five-star recruit. But junior college transfer guard Andres Feliz is easily just as important in the Illini backcourt.

Just ask Illinois coach Brad Underwood.

"He's got an old man's game, and he's got an understanding that goes beyond his years in terms of leadership," Underwood said. "He's vocal. He always asks the right questions. He's comforting for a coach. He's got the right pace about him. He's got the right demenaor about him, and he never gets too rattled. Then defensively, he can be a pitbull."

Feliz stood out during Saturday's open practice simply because he rarely put a foot wrong. He was in the right places at the right times defensively, and at the other end of the court his game allows him to play in what could be a three-guard Illinois backcourt with Frazier and Dosunmu.

Feliz can operate with the ball in his hands or without. An NCJAA First Team All-American last season at Northwest Florida State, Feliz averaged 20 points, 6.1 assists, 5.7 rebounds and 2.1 steals. The key stats? He shot 61 percent from the field and — perhaps even more important if he's playing off the ball with the Illini — 42 percent from three-point range.