Beat writer Scott Richey chatted on Wednesday afternoon at IlliniHQ.com. Here's a sample of what was discussed:
How is Aaron Jordan faring during spring workouts?
The spring workouts were very individual skill driven given the fact Illinois didn't have enough players to go 5-on-5 unless managers practiced. There was some of that, of course, but the limited time in the gym with the coaches was mostly used on improving fundamentals.
A goal for Jordan is to get him attacking the basket more to make it so defenses won't just automatically run him off the three-point line. That could create more three-point opportunities, but it will also get him to the free throw line more. Brad Underwood wants that of just about everybody, but Jordan in particular.
What Jordan started to do more at the end of last season is something that will help him moving forward. He wasn't shooting pull-up threes off the dribble, but he was using a dribble or shot fake (or both in sequence) to create space to shoot. I wouldn't expect Jordan to make any major changes to his shooting mechanics, but finding a way to pull the triggle a little quicker certainly won't hurt.
Hindsight is 20-20, but do you think Brad Underwood and his staff should have done more to retain Michael Finke instead of having him transfer to Grand Canyon?
Michael Finke's transfer was one that hurt given he could have provided some veteran leadership for a team that's going to need it.
The counter to that is Finke did regress some in the 2017-18 season. He scored more (by virtue of playing more minutes per game) and his rebounding was slightly up, but he shot a career worst 30.9 percent from three-point range.
That's a huge part of his game and was a huge dip from shooting 41.1 percent from deep in 2016-17.
Even in Underwood's "position-less" system, Finke was playing "out of position" more as a 5. Maybe it was simply time for a change, but unless Underwood is able to find a grad transfer big, his frontcourt in 2018-19 is going to be a young one that could take a lot of lumps.